If you’re a gamer you’ve probably heard the name Extra Life, and I’m not talking about a 1-up in Super Mario. Extra Life is a Children’s Miracle Network charity that makes it easy for gamers of all types to raise money for their local children’s hospitals.
With the motto, “Play Games. Heal Kids.” Extra Life allows gamers to set up their own fundraising page, select their local hospital, set a goal and then take it from there. The challenge is to play games for 24 hours while raising funds through the site.
In 2014, a small group of Oklahoma City Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League members got together for their own Extra Life fundraiser at Game HQ. Started by Anthony Caroselli, they played D&D and other tabletop games for 24 hours with a meager goal of $200 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation. They ended up raising $643 that weekend and thought, “this could be bigger.”
In 2015, I joined in the planning for this event. We invited more of the community, added a larger variety of tabletop games, raffle prizes and food to keep everyone going. With a goal of $1,000, we raised $1,360 that year. Now in our fourth year of fundraising, I’m proud to say we’ve raised $4,716 to date.
This year’s Extra Life event is 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 until 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at Game HQ in Oklahoma City. And it’s set to be our biggest event yet!
This year, you’ll find D&D, board game tournaments, Pathfinder, Heavy Gear Blitz and Artemis Bridge Simulator on the schedule, as well as room for people to stop in and play a favorite board game or RPG. We’re also featuring a Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League Epic Saturday evening that no adventurer should miss.
What makes our event so successful? Oklahoma City has a wonderful board game and tabletop community as well as friendly local game shops throughout the metro. More than 20 local businesses and organizations have stepped up in support by donating raffle items and prizes (including OKgamers!). Funds are raised primarily through raffle ticket and food sales, as well as entry fees for tournament-labeled events. The majority of gaming is free to play.
“I can’t say enough good things about this event,” said Extra Life volunteer Lauren Brandeberry. “Tabletop gaming is a family-friendly hobby that brings people together and builds community, and it’s so great to see this community come together to share their passion and raise money for a great cause!”
We’d love for you to join us. RSVP on our Facebook event or check out our webpage for more details and to donate. You can also follow our event live on Twitch via OhkayPlays who will be there enjoying board games and D&D.
If you can’t make the Game HQ event, I’m happy to say that the Oklahoma City metro has a second Extra Life fundraiser this year from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 at Immersion House in Sooner Mall, Norman. This event also raises money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and will feature VR gaming, video games and board games.
And of course, I encourage any gamer to host their own Extra Life fundraiser! It doesn’t have to be a big event or a big goal to make a difference. Many gamers play at home, stream on Twitch and get friends and family to contribute. Learn more and create your own page.