A group of passionate people in Edmonton were up early Saturday, and all for a good cause.
Gamers plugged in at 11 a.m. to play video games for 25 hours straight in support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
“We’ve got about 80 gamers that are sitting here playing their favorite games. They’ve pledged to fundraise throughout the evening and also all year long,” said Lisa Hawthorne, Extra Life Edmonton president on Saturday. She says the event’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years.
“We started in a little area and we had 30 gamers that came out. Cut to 2019, we had about 250 gamers in this space.”
Extra Life Edmonton has taken over West Edmonton Mall’s Ice Palace with the goal of levelling up care at the Stollery for the 12th year.
“Money goes towards great programs at the hospital, amazing equipment to help the kids, training, teaching and research,” said Lindsay Dodd, trustee with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Participants were able to participate from their own homes and the game session is a marathon. Participant Kari Young is one of many who have come up with a game plan to stay awake, which includes many energy drinks. But Young said it’s all worth it to help support local health care.
“To raise money for kids I mean, that’s huge, and hearing stories as well of how it affects families and young people,” Young said.
Extra Life is an initiative in which people play games to raise money for their local children’s hospital. Edmonton president Hawthorne said she was inspired to participate because of a loved one.
“My nephew, he’s on the spectrum, so he frequents the Stollery quite a lot. Plus my nieces and nephews have been there as well, so they’re there for every parent,” Hawthorne said.
Nearly $3 million has been raised for the Stollery since the fundraiser started more than a decade ago.
“This is a community that you might not see out at fun runs, you might not see them at big galas, but they’re so committed to raising money for the kids and they do this year in and year out,” Dodd said.
“They’ve been here for years raising so much money. Whether they’re here at the mall or whether they’re at home, they’re all committed to doing 25 straight hours of gaming.”
Extra Life gamers will be playing and accepting donations throughout Saturday night. The fundraiser wraps up Sunday.