Extra Life Game Day is Coming!

Since 2008, thousands of people have pledged to play games to help save the lives of sick and injured kids through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital’s program, #Extra Life. This passionate gaming community has raised more than $30 million for local CMN Hospitals which includes over $300,000 benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

But why? Why do these gamers sacrifice sleep and other commitments to play games for 24 (or more) hours? Why do they sacrifice their weekends to raise awareness for CMNH at local events? Why do their social media platforms constantly mention Extra Life?

What better way to answer these questions than hearing from a few of our local gamers:

@Lizzy: This is my second year with Extra Life. It’s a cause that instantly became near and dear to my heart. Back in 2002, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was there for us when our 6 month old daughter needed emergency surgery at 3 am. Not only did they take amazing care of our child, but they were there for us; the young, new parents scared out of their minds. Five years later our second daughter arrived and had to spend nearly two weeks in the NICU; an experience no parent or family will ever forget. It changes you. The other reason is about eight years ago I started going through my own health issues. I have since been diagnosed with several auto-immune disorders, chronic illnesses, and chronic pain. It keeps me home bound most of the time. While I have lost a lot of freedom and unable to do many of the things I once loved to do, there are still things I can do. One of which is to fundraise for others who may not be currently able to. Extra Life gives me an opportunity to give back to the hospital that was there for my family as well as support other families in need of the special care available at CMN Hospitals.

@Rae: I joined Extra Life in 2011. I think it was just a Facebook ad that caught my attention. I had never heard about it before and clicked because of course I was interested in playing games for 24 hours. I have been fortunate enough to never need any hospitalization as a child. My family has never known the anxiety and grief that some families have to experience every day. I remember how amazed I was when I started asking for donations–how many people were touched by not only the Children’s Miracle Network, but my local hospital as well. Many of my peers, friends and family were eager to give back to an organization that had such a deep effect on their lives. There was this amazing community right in front of me-and I could now share something with them that I loved, gaming. 

Extra Life is important to me because it connects me to my community in a way that is very special. Gaming is something that brings people together. Not only by requesting for donations or sponsorship but encouraging anyone to sign up and pledge to participate. Extra Life was a way for me to turn something that I love doing into an adventure for change. Since becoming involved in the Extra Life Atlanta Guild and participating in Extra Life United (a sort of tournament/conference) I have made some of the best friendships in my life. I’ll be in a room filled with people who want to make a change on the lives of families and children in need. We have become a sort of family of our own. We do it for the kids and that’s a feeling that has only gotten bigger and brighter the longer I’ve participated in Extra Life. 

@Caity: For years, I’d been giving my change or making regular donations to Children’s Hospitals and the Ronald McDonald fund, but it never felt like it was the tribute that I truly wanted to make. You see, my best friend was diagnosed with encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, as a kid and Children’s saved her life. If they didn’t have Children’s to go to, I never would have met her. Today, she’s celebrating her first wedding anniversary. My friend and team leader, Lyz, introduced me to Extra Life three years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I realized it was a way that I could really give back to those who saved Amanda’s life, and it involved something that we both always enjoyed; gaming!  Now, every time I make or receive a donation, I can’t help but smile because someone’s best friend, sibling, or spouse is going to receive life changing help, and that makes me feel like a hero.

 

@Kyle: Extra Life is important to me because I hope that this money at some point will go to help a child or a family in a stressful situation. Anyone who has ever had a medical issue whether it be themselves, a family member or child knows that the cost can end up being life-changing without proper insurance or support. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is there for people in what is likely some of the most stressful and scariest moments in a family’s life and that type of work deserves acknowledgment, appreciation and support.

 

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