An online gamer is donating $164,000 to Kelowna’s SPCA.
Kristen Valnicek, who games under the name @KittyPlays, won the money playing a Fortnite charity video game tournament in June.
“I was invited to be part of the professional amateur event at E3 in June with Fortnite and my partner was Chandler Riggs, otherwise knows as Carl form the Walking Dead,” Valnicek said. “We went in, there were 100 of us all on the map, and we came out third and it was a $3 million total prize pool and we ended up with $250,000 American to split and give to our charity.”
She took home third place, earning US$125,000 for the charity of her choice during the tournament in L.A.
Valnicek chose the Kelowna SPCA as her charity of choice.
“This is my roots. I was born in Toronto but I spent age five to 18 here in Kelowwa and we would just drive past the SPCA with my mom, she would actually take a different route just so we wouldn’t go past the SPCA because I would throw a tantrum every time cause I wanted to see the animals,” she told Global News. “So it’s always been a real special place in my heart and I think especially when you are donating to the specific branch, you really get to see where that money goes and how much of an impact it can have, that was really important to me.”
— KittyPlays (@KittyPlays) November 27, 2018
Two kittens have now been named Fortnite and KittyPlays. They came into the SPCA’s care after the owner surrendered them from an unwanted litter.
They will be available after the holidays once they have been spayed and neutered.
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The donation will cover the shelter’s medical costs and the spay and neuter program for an entire year, Sean Hogan, manager of the SPCA, said.
“I had no idea how much of an impact it would have. That’s huge, huge, huge, huge to me,” Valnicek said. “You spend all this time watching these shows about, you know, animal welfare, and these types of programs and to actually know that I did something and made a choice to do all that makes me very emotional and I’m very, very happy for the SPCA and the animals that it will impact.”
— Klaudia Van Emmerik (@KlaudiaGlobal) December 4, 2018
“We’re elated about this gift that will support our ongoing life-saving work,” Hogan said. “As a charity we rely on public donations and when a donation of this magnitude comes through, our hearts explode because we know the difference it will make for animals in need in our community.”
Hogan said the staff were all caught off guard by the huge donation and even a little doubtful at first.
“In this case we were able to legitimize the gift right away and it was like are you kidding me, it’s like a $125 thousand US and when that hit our bank account it was $163 thousand in Canadian,” Hogan said.
Valnicek. who grew up in Kelowna, is currently based in Vancouver and has made a career out of live game streaming. She’s currently ranked as the top female streamer on Twitch, a live streaming platform boasting 15 million daily visitors.Follow @Jules_Knox
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