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Extra Life United participants compete in Florida for the chance to win money for their Children’s Hospital!

We are gamers, hear us roar!

There are very few things out there that alleviate the stereotype of a “gamer.”  People assume we still live in mom’s basement, sustain ourselves with Taco Bell, skip personal hygiene, are socially awkward, and contribute very little to society.  The truth of the matter is that the gaming community is full of some of the most passionate, most loving, most caring, and most giving people you will every meet in your lifetime.  That is why so many of us dare to break the gamer stereotype and give back to the community.  You’ll find all kinds of gamers teaming up to play games and heal kids.  Your mom, dad, grandparents; firefighters, bankers, cashiers, truck drivers, baristas… All united for Extra Life!

Extra Life is a phenomenal charity that allows gamers to directly impact their local communities by raising money for children’s hospitals through CMNH.  Extra Life began in loving memory of Victoria Enmon in 2008 and has since blossomed into an extraordinary effort of gamers helping sick and injured children.  With over 50,000 participants, gamers from all of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and more team up on a weekend in November (the 5th this year!) to play games for 24 hours straight in order to raise money for kids.

Since it’s inception, there are over 50,000 participants that raised more than $21 Million dollars! 100% of the money donated to Extra Life goes towards helping these amazing, brave kids battle whatever life throws at them!  From hiring specialists to purchasing new equipment or even toys and games for the children to help get them through their treatments, Extra Life is a powerful way for gamers to directly impact their communities.extra life

Twenty-Four Hours of Gaming Ain’t Easy

Running a 5k isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which is why Extra Life is a unique fundraising experience that allows gamers to bring their family and friends in to help do something epic!  Gamers “run” 24 hour gaming marathons instead.  Participants can play from the comfort of their own homes or visit local gaming stores, cafes, or even beercades (bar + arcade!) to play any time of game!  From Rocket League to Cards Against Humanity, gamers play games to raise money for kids.

Playing games for 24 hours straight without rest is exhausting, so here are some tips to help keep you motivated throughout the marathon!

  • Sleep the night before and after
    • 24 hours is a long time to be awake, especially once the sun goes down. Your circadian rhythm is telling you to hit the hay but you’re already 8 hours into that Mario 64 playthrough.  Get to bed on time the night before you start your 24 hour epic adventure and be sure either take a small nap or resume your normal sleeping pattern to help battle fatigue.  A regular sleeping schedule does the body and mind good!
  • Fuel your body with healthy snacks
    • Instead of gorging on the stereotypical gamer delights (Bawlz, Doritos, and pizza), try and mix in healthier snacks like vegetables and fruits.  A sugar overload is rough on the body, especially when you’re championing towards that 3AM mark and your mind is ready to shut down.
    • WATER! Seriously, water will 100% be the better option to keep your body healthy and hydrated throughout the marathon.  While some caffeinated beverages will give you that jolt, just remember it’s temporary and the crash afterwords may leave you feeling sluggish.  Cold water is a great way to perk yourself up and take on that dungeon boss for the 7th time!
  • Prepare your arsenal
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    Firefighter/EMT Matt demos Exploding Kittens at the Extra Life booth during Lake Count-i-Con in 2015!
    • Plan which games you’ll be playing! It helps alleviate the stress of the age old conversation, “Ugh, what do you wanna play?” “I dunno, whatever you want.”  Here are some recommended activities!
      • Video Games: Just Dance, Dance Dance Revolution, World of Warcraft, Rocket League, Halo, Prop Hunter, Overwatch, Warframe, FIFA/MLB/NFL/NHL/NBA 2016, Minecraft, Jack Box Party Games, Splatoon
      • Tabletop Games: Settlers of Catan, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Arkham Horror, Takenoko, Mice & Mystics, Cards Against Humanity (for the 18+ of course),  Ticket to Ride,  Munchkin, King of Tokyo, Pretty Pretty Princess
      • Mobile Games: Heads Up!, Pokemon GO, Terraria, NBA Jam, Candy Crush
    • Luckily with Extra Life you can play ANY kind of game. From solitaire to tag to Duck Hunt, no game is unworthy for your marathon! If you’re looking for more games to add to your library, check out Humble Bundle!  They offer a rotation of fun games where you pay what you want! Money gets distributed to various charities and Extra Life is a frequent recipient!
    • Multiplayer games are also wonderful.  Playing with friends makes the time go by much faster, but it’s also great to have company around to help keep you awake and motivated throughout the marathon!

Rollin’ With My Gnomies

This is my second year volunteering with Extra Life! Last year, my team participated in 2 24 hour events, volunteered at several conventions, and raised $1,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago!  I am now the Extra Life Chicago Guild secretary and an Extra Life United participant!  It is a truly humbling experience combining my love for games and my passion for helping others.

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Kyra, the 2015 Illinois Champion for CMNH, and Gnomedic during Extra Life United 2016

If you’d like to help me raise $1,000 for Extra Life this year, you may donate here!  Currently, I’ve raised $600/$1000 and will be participating in a 24 hour marathon on November, 5th!

Gamers like you can make a difference in your community with Extra Life! Play games, heal kids!

What games will you be playing on game day?  Not signed up to participate with Extra Life Yet? Go here!  Got questions? Leave a comment or utilize the Extra Life Forums here!