Gaming for a cure

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Roanoke College students united last Friday for a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Extra Life, a charity that benefits children’s hospitals. Submitted photo.
Roanoke College students united last Friday for a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Extra Life, a charity that benefits children’s hospitals. Submitted photo.
For the second year in a row, an Extra Life event has been held at Roanoke College. All proceeds from the event go towards the Children’ Miracle Network and Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital.

The event was a marathon of sorts. For 24 hours straight, participants played video games, board games, and watched anime movies. The gamers, fueled by donated pizza from Domino’s, and ice cream from Dairy Queen, were able to raise about $1,000 for the cause, through sponsorships and donations.

Jonathan Cribb, a senior at the school, organized the first event last year. He said he saw a flyer at a GameStop store, and thought it sounded like a fun and rewarding activity to become involved with.

“I got involved with it last year because I was desperately looking for a charity. I was having a bad summer, and wanted to get involved with something,” Cribb said. “I told all of my family instead of birthday presents, send me money for the charity.”

He told his friends the same thing, but was thrilled to find that many of them wanted to become actively involved in the event as well.

“Extra Life kind of boomed, and last year was the first year our area has done it,” Cribb said.

This year’s local event was held in Roanoke College’s Miller Hall, from 6 p.m. last Friday to 6 p.m. on Saturday. About 40 Roanoke College students participated.

“It was pretty intense. We were all going nuts by about 2 o’clock in the morning,” Cribb said. “A lot of the students went straight from classes to extra life, so everyone was pretty exhausted.”

He said he was able to round up nearly 30 people for last year’s event, which raised around $2,000. Nationally, Extra Life has raised $7 million this year, upping last year’s $6 million total.

After last year’s event, Cribb was invited to Florida to meet other gamers, and he has also met family members of those who the fundraiser benefits, which he said was very rewarding.

Extra Life was created in 2008 by Jeremy Adams, a radio host. Inspired by Victoria Enmon, a young girl who was passionate about video games and had a rare form of Leukemia, the host wanted to create a charity in her honor. Since, the event has united people from around the globe to raise money via 24-hour gaming marathons.

“We worked pretty hard and I’m really proud of ourselves,” Cribb said.

Cribb said gamers should become involved with the event, because not only does it raise money for a noble cause, but it is a challenge.

“Those are two things gamers like,” Cribb said. “They’re kind of competitive.”

For more information, visit http://www.extra-life.org/.