By Anni Simpson on October 18, 2014 at 8:58pm
Extra Life is a charity formed by gamers for gamers. On National Game Day, Oct. 25, gamers raise donations for children’s hospitals around the world by participating in a 24-hour gaming marathon. Each participant sets a goal, promotes their cause, and then … just games in order to raise awareness. They choose a children’s hospital they donate to so they can directly affect their local community in a positive way.
Credit card donations may be made on a participant's fundraising page. Cash and check donations will be collected by participants and submitted to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. All funds will be disbursed directly to the hospital selected during registration. Extra-Life.org
That’s where Kraig Ward comes in. Hoping to support John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Ward set a goal of $200 for game day. (Full disclosure: I donated, as well.)
I'm on a mission to save kids and I need your help. My local Children's Miracle Network Hospital treats thousands of children each year, regardless of their family's ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents to name just a few. Kraig Ward
Ward was considerate enough to talk with Player Theory about his plans for National Game Day.
Player Theory: What about Extra Life got your attention in the first place?
Kraig Ward: I was turned onto Extra Life from a friend named Tyson a few years ago. He had been doing it a while and mentioned it to me. I immediately loved the idea, I love helping people and what better way to do so than by doing something you love? It sounded like a good idea, and it certainly gave me an excuse to play games for 24 hours straight! This is my third year at this, and I'm on team Reddit with a lot of other people, including Tyson. It's always a blast!
PT: Why did you choose John Hopkins?
KW: I chose Johns Hopkins because they're an awesome hospital, and I've been treated there for diabetes and gastroparesis for a number of years. Its also my local Children’s Miracle Network Center, and being able to help sick kids in need is awesome. It has a local impact, and that’s super important to me to be able to do something for the hospital that has taken care of me.
PT: Do you personally know anyone affected by charities like this? Otherwise, why choose a child-centered charity to raise awareness for? There must be some back story here.
KW: I had the opportunity to meet some of the kids we've raised money for last year for the first time, but missed out due to some personal health issues. One of the biggest reasons for doing this was because as a kid, I had a lot of health issues. I was hospitalized at five or six with Scarlet Fever, always caught viruses and strep as a kid, and at 13 was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Since then, over the course of 10 years I've gotten worse, including gastroparesis and diabetic nueropathy. The gastroparesis and uncontrolled blood sugars I've had for so long have kept me out of work and not able to drive my entire life. I've been fighting for disability, and have tried every medication for my stomach in the US and am currently taking one from non FDA approved that gets shipped in from Canada. I've had a lot of issues that keep me from doing everything others do, so I took to gaming and this is a great chance to give back to the hospital that has helped me. What really set all of this for me was having the Scarlet Fever during Christmas, and I remember the nurses wheeling around a few old CRT TVs and carts with SNES consoles. It was super awesome and made my stay a lot more enjoyable, and it was one thing that always stuck with me through everything. Being able to get some sick kids some help with medical bills and keeping the spirit of gaming alive is something I'm glad to participate in.
PT: What titles do you plan on playing during Game Day?
KW: During game day, I'll probably be playing “WoW,” “LoL,” “TF2,” “CSGO,” and a mix of some random single player experiences that I have in my back catalog that I haven't gotten around to. It’s always nice to catch up on those.
PT: How do you plan to stay awake for the full 24 hours?
KW: In the past, I stayed awake through semi diabetic friendly energy drinks, staying hydrated, and low calorie/carb snacks that aren't super heavy as to weigh me down during the gaming. Last year we went for 25 hours, and I was stunned how much longer that extra hour felt. Stretching on the regular and trying to keep your head in immersive games is a huge help from going zombie mode when the time for single player comes.
PT: Why did you choose the games you did?
KW: I chose the games I did because most of them are well known, and have a large playerbase. Being multiplayer, I have to focus a bit more on what’s going on which tends to keep me awake, and it also gives people the chance to see the stream and jump in for some fun to keep me awake and have some interaction with the viewers. Mostly I get sucked into playing “LoL,” which I admittedly suck at.
PT: Do you have any plans to involve friends or family while you game, or is this going to be purely a solo venture?
KW: I've had some offers from friends to hop on during the stream and play some of the multiplayer games more so than the previous years, but that usually only takes up a few hours of my stream. I'm generally streaming and playing solo, but in multiplayer games. I come and go from certain games and its cut off a lot of my steady gaming friends, but hopefully there's more of a friendly turnout this year.
PT: What’s the best way to watch your stream?
KW: You can watch the stream on Twitch. The Event starts at 8 AM on Oct. 25. Here is a link to my fundraising page, and here’s my Steam profile in case anyone would like to add me and jump into anything come game day!
PT: Is there anything else you’d like to add that we may have missed?
KW: Thanks for the interview, and remember that this is free to register and anyone can participate, no matter how much money they raise or can donate, every bit helps. For the kids!
If you’re invested in games and want a way to support sick children’s health care using gaming, Kraig Ward’s campaign is an easy place to start. You can find a link to donate on his Extra Life profile.
To find out more about Extra Life or its mission, you can learn more through their YouTube campaign ad:
Extra Life Extra Life: Kraig Ward