It was about 3 years ago, maybe end of August or beginning of September, I was reading through the a game magazine when I saw something about the Extra-Life charity event. It caught my interest because the add was short and sweet and said, "Play Games, Save a Life." I checked out the site, read up on it, and was hooked. Now, following the Extra-Life Facebook they had a post about "Why you Extra Life" which got me thinking. That post, and coming up on my third year of participation, made me want to reflect a little bit about "Why I Extra Life."
It really began some years even before that. I used to work for a game store company (no longer around) that was a pretty big supporter of the Make-a-Wish foundation. One year while I was the assistant store manager my boss came to me and said that they were taking a trip to a local hospital, which happened to be within the Children's Miracle Network(CMNH) set of hospitals, with some Make-a-Wish foundation people to look at a bunch of consoles the company I worked for had donated and to tour the hospital. I had the opportunity to tag along to the hospital visit to see the console setups, talk with some of the kids and just see the organization. I was pretty young, so hospitals kinda freaked me out, so I was nervous, but I thought it would be cool so I went.
The console's were in this box on wheels that could be moved around from room to room which was really cool. But I was really touched by the enjoyment the kids got out of being able to play games during their stay. I talked to a few of them and it was overwhelming for me to see the reaction to something that can be so easily taken for granted as a video game. Some of the kids were in the hospital for months, or were going to be for an extended stay, but they were still cheerful and talkative, challenged me to a game or two and had a pretty damn positive reaction to everything. I was really touched by this trip and seeing the kids and what these organizations do for the kids and parents made me realize how much support these organizations give for them. If you don't know much about the Make-A-Wish or Children's Miracle Network Hospitals take a moment to Google them, or click the names to read a bit more about them. I know I did when I got home and since then I have been a huge supporter of the Make-a-Wish foundation and the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals since.
When I had my daughter I could not even imagine what it would be like to have to go through, or to have her go through any of that. I won't lie, it is a thought that has had me watch her sleeping from her doorway, or kept me up at night worrying when she was sick, but I knew that those organizations are there to help people. So when I saw the cause for the Extra-Life charity event was in support of the CMNH I knew there was no way I could not participate.
So, "Why do I Extra-Life?" I have been lucky to not have a need for any of the services or anything like that the CMNH provide, but I know that without their support, those kids and parents would be a lot worse off. Being able to help, support the network just a little bit and know that I was able to contribute to something MUCH greater than myself in a way that I feel is unique to me is why I participate every year. Some people go out and give a bunch of money, some people go run marathons, it doesn't matter how they are doing it to support a cause they believe it, the fact is they do, and for me I am able to do this through a medium I love (and feel like I am pretty good at haha!)
This year is no different! I am, for the third year now, participating in the Extra-Life charity but this time it is for 25 hours of gaming!
So head click here to go to my profile page. Take a look and if you can donate. If not, share this with someone else to look at so they can share, participate, educate, anything. This year I more wanted to spread the word then anything else and if just one person reads up about this event, or even looks at the site I will have set out what I wanted to do.