Playing Games in College to Help Save Lives

Did you know that was possible? Me either…but it is!

I found out about Extra Life through my involvement in Dance Marathon my sophomore year. This program started in 2008 when Victoria Enmon, an Angel Miracle kid, passed away from a long battle with cancer. With that, Extra Life started with the support of a few gamer groups and it has grown tremendously over the years, raising over $8M for the Children’s Miracle Network just LAST YEAR.

But, hey, what is Extra Life?
Extra Life is a 24 hour gaming marathon that raises funds and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals around the nation (AND Canada). Gamers pledge to game for however many hours they are able to (or go for the whole 24 hours) For The Kids. Creativeness plays a big role during Extra Life because gamers can livestream their fundraising efforts, host major events with hundreds of people in one room coming together for one cause – it’s amazing.

Iowa State Extra Life started not long after, and it has been an ongoing tradition. My first Extra Life was spent in the Howe Atrium meeting new, amazing people who wanted to give back to the community. Since then, I have been participating every year and challenging Iowa State to make it bigger and better. Last year, I was in charge of organizing our event, but ended up focusing on building relationships with student organizations – we were all able to raise $3,500! This year, we have a central location at the Memorial Union and supporting organizations hosting their events as well – and we are shooting for $4,500!

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You will find me dancing and livestreaming my endeavors as I do every year. This time, we have already tripled where we were by this time last year, and I am so excited to see what happens this weekend.

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Now, why am I so involved in Extra Life as well as Dance Marathon? Learning that I could apply one of my big, big passions (gaming) into something that I quickly came to love (helping make miracles happen) got me even more thrilled to get involved. I grew up playing games, and – believe it or not – I have learned so many useful things through them such as: Languages, patience, discipline, storytelling, different cultures, intellectual thinking, social skills, and I can go on and on. So, I want to help every kid I can so they grow up the same way.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, once you find your passion, you just keep finding ways to make it grow. Then, it grows into more people, and we can extend that selfless chain. So, I am calling all gamers at Iowa State to make miracles happen and give kids the chance to be kids.

Leave a mark on your Iowa State adventure. Be it Extra Life or the organization you choose to devote your time to.

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