Video games for charity: giving back at Extra Life 2016

Written by Cheryl Cottrell-Smith

Say what you want about Edmonton’s gaming community—they’re a generous bunch. Earlier this week, we wrote about the upcoming Game-A-Lot tabletop event, which offers a weekend of board gaming in support of charity. On November 5th, the video game community takes their turn to give back during the annual Extra Life gaming marathon.

An international event fueled by guilds in a number of cities, Extra Life brings together video game fans in a 24-hour gaming marathon that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The Edmonton chapter of Extra Life is now in their fourth year and has raised more than $200,000 for the Stollery Children’s Hospital since its inception.

“We raise money through various fundraising efforts, including an annual silent auction at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, as well as running tournaments in the Tech Life hall at K-Days,” says Extra Life Vice President Ramin Ostad. “Our efforts culminate in an annual 24-hour video game marathon, which acts as a celebration of and reward for all the efforts our fundraising team makes throughout the year.”

This year’s Extra Life event will be held at the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace in West Edmonton Mall. The opening ceremonies take place at noon on November 5th and the marathon continues until noon on November 6th. Participants raise as much money as possible to sponsor their 24-hour gaming marathon, the proceeds of which go directly to support Edmonton children in need at the Stollery.

“For 2016, our primary goal is to raise $60,000 for the Stollery, and fit over 260 gamers into the Ice Palace,” says Ostad. “That said, we understand that 2016 has been an especially challenging year financially for Edmontonians and we are grateful for any and all funds they are willing and able to donate. Ultimately, we just want to raise as much money as we can for the Stollery Children’s Hospital. ​We like to say that if you don’t know someone who’s been helped by the efforts of the Stollery, then you know someone who knows someone who has. That’s why, after five years, we’ve only grown more passionate about helping the kids at the Stollery get the care they need to be able to live long, full lives.”

Gaming culture in Edmonton has developed drastically over the last couple of years and gaming enthusiasts now have access to events such as Fragapalooza, GDX Edmonton, the Classic Video Game Championships, and more. Some of these events have been around for many years but are continuing to thrive as more people search for ways to become involved in the city’s gaming community. And, of course, events like Extra Life give people a way to do what they love in support of a great cause.

“Edmonton has a reputation for being an extremely giving city when it comes to charities, but even after five years, the people we meet at our events are still surprised that a community of gamers would be so passionate about helping out children in need by fundraising throughout the year,” says Ostad. “When we started Extra Life Edmonton, we knew that being a gamer was about more than just the stereotype of loners sitting in dark basements. Edmonton has a vibrant and diverse gaming community and we are proud that our event inspires more and more gamers every year to join our team, fundraise for a great cause, and gather as one large community.”

Whether you want to participate in the fundraiser and game or simply support Extra Life and the Stollery, you can find more information about registration or donations on the Extra Life Edmonton website.

Extra Life Facebook page

Extra Life event tickets

Images courtesy of Extra Life Edmonton.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s