Extra-Life: Empowering Ourselves Through Healing Kids

Last month I attended GaymerX, an LGBTQ gaming convention in San Francisco. While it isn’t the focus of this post, the experiences I had were amazing and refreshing. They gave me enough material to write multiple posts just on that con itself (and maybe I will!)

The focus of this post, however, is about something I discovered at that convention, and it’s something that has changed my life and given me a drive that I didn’t know I had.

At GaymerX I discovered Extra Life, a 25 hour video game marathon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. At the convention, there was a woman taking down information for those interested in signing up to benefit Children’s Hospital Oakland here in California. Little did she know that this particular hospital held so much meaning for me.

When I was 12 years old I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was so far gone from complications that I was in their pediatric ICU for a week, and then in a regular room for another week. The care I was given was the best hospital care I have ever seen (and I have been to multiple hospitals for various visits or appointments); Children’s is tailor made for these little patients.

So when I heard that there is a fundraising event that involves video games, and benefits the hospital that was responsible for saving my life? Of course I had to say yes!

Rules of the Game

There’s another piece to this that made it a perfect fit. See, I’m not the most…athletic…of people. I get winded walking up the hill to my apartment building, so running a marathon is out of the question for me. Not only is it a charity that benefits my hospital, and that involves something I enjoy doing, but it is something that I can actually accomplish!

It’s so simple: Just sign up to play video games from 8am Nov. 2nd to 8am on the 3rd (Daylight Savings gives us the extra hour to play!). Then annoy all your friends and family by asking them to donate $1 an hour ($25) until you reach your fundraising goal ($200 will get you a T-shirt). Next, play games all day on the day of the event! Any game you want, any place you want.

Extra Life makes it easy, fun, and safe to participate! On their site they even have tips to make it through the 25 hours. Here are a few:

1. Get up and move around every hour

2. Drink plenty of fluids and make sure to eat meals

3. If you can’t make it through all 25 hours, don’t worry! You can make up the hours another time.


These may seem simple, but it is the small details that are important to remember. Children’s Hospital has been doing this for decades. They remember small things like how having good bedside manner can help improve mood. This, in turn, helps recovery and adjustment back to life as an adolescent whose whole life has been turned upside down.

Simple changes make it possible to transform a whole experience, like involving the gaming community in their own unique style of marathon.

This has given me the drive to do everything I can to support this charity and make sure the hospital receives as much help as it can. It can make all the difference to know that you can actually participate, and that it will impact so many lives in need (as I experienced first hand).

Also, how could you not feel empowered by logos and promotional material like this:

With this new found drive, I’ve recruited my fiance and my friends to start a team, called Rare Candy, to raise even more money for the hospital. I’ve also recruited my nephew, who is probably even more excited than I am. He’s had a boost to his self-esteem (much like myself) in knowing that he can make a difference doing something that comes easily to him.

He’s also planning on spending most of the 25 hours playing World of Warcraft with me and teaching me how to tank (I got him into the game, and now he’s teaching me…? Hrmph!)

Now for the shameless plug part…

(I promise I won’t hate you if you stop here, but please continue reading)!

If this post has inspired you to seek more information (you can just look around or join to benefit any Children’s Miracle Network Hospital nationwide), check out: http://www.extra-life.org

If you’d like to join my team, Rare Candy, to raise money for Children’s Hospital Oakland:

To donate and sponsor me: http://www.extra-life.org/participant/larataylor

And remember, it’s all for the children!

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