Play games. Heal kids.
That’s the mantra behind a very special event taking over the London Roundhouse this weekend, as gamers from across the Forest City rally together for a 24-hour marathon, all to raise money for sick children.
For organizer Dustin Hill, ScrumMaster at Code Studio Co-Operative, getting the chance to do something great for his community, all while enjoying his favourite pastime was a no-brainer.
“Basically, we’re going to do this crazy thing where we play video games for 24 hours straight. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” he said with a laugh. “In addition, we’re collect sponsorships from friends, family and anyone else who want to support a great cause.”
The local event is being put together in conjunction with Extra Life, an organization supported by thousands of gamers across the globe, raising money in support of their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
Since 2010, Extra Life has raised more than $14 million to help children’s hospitals provide critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment, research and charitable care.
The funds brought in by Hill’s crew will go to the Children’s Health Foundation, an organization supporting the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, Thames Valley Children’s Centre and Children’s Health Research Institute.
“They’re all institutions that put money towards families who need it, whose kids are going through treatment,” he explained, adding from the people he’s talked to who actually use foundation, it’s all about supportive funding. “The money is there if they need it for travel, lodging or meals. That stuff can get pretty expensive when your kid is going through treatment.”
The event is set to take place Saturday, Nov. 7, at the London Roundhouse, with 15 participants already signed up. Hill said the group is hoping for 30 or more.
“We’re still accepting people and there’s no minimum for fundraising. Each team has their own objective they want to achieve,” he said. “Anyone who thinks they can take on this challenge, that’s it’s a small feat, I definitely welcome them to come out and give it a try.”
For Shawn Adamsson, chief culture officer for Engine SevenFour and Ellipsis Digital, the event is a chance to lend a hand, all while revisiting his love of gaming.
“I’m a little on the older side now and I used to do these things when I was in my 20s, but I haven’t done anything like this in a long time,” he said with a laugh. “It’s for a good cause first and foremost, but I’m also doing it just to have a good time, hang out with some folks and have some fun.”
Adamsson went on to explain gamers are expected to bring their own gear since people tend to have their game setup pretty customized. As far as what people will be playing, that’s completely up to them. From board games, to a Super Smash Bros. tournament, the event is designed with freedom in mind.
“For me, I have a few games, mostly a little bit older,” he said. “Left for Dead is the game I play the most.”
To make the day a little more fun, Hill is suggesting participants change it up by trying something new.
“I’m pushing people to do challenges in their games as well,” he said. “My roommate, for example is going from zero to 100 with a brand new character in World of Warcraft. I’m a pilot, I love flight simulators, so I’m going to fly around the world in 24 hours.”
Power-ups and pixels aside, in the end it’s all about working towards a common goal, to help kids and families in need, right here in London.
“Yes it’s been done before, but it’s going to be no small task. It’s doable, but it’s definitely a challenge,” said Hill. “It’s kind of the
perfect chance for us nerds to raise money for a good cause.”