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Bacchanalian

Why do you Extra Life?

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I know this has been done before, but I figure we have more and more people joining and it's time for a new one.

 

I originally started doing it just because it seemed like an awesome cause and great excuse to play games.

 

That changed my second year.  I went into it during one of my Extra Life events last year, here's a link to the time in the video where I start talking about it.  Note I may have gotten a few details wrong on the specifics, but I was trying to paint a picture for the donors.

 

https://youtu.be/t35231duP-U?t=131

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I Extra Life to give back to the hospital that I stayed at when I had to have a 8 hr Jaw Surgery in High School to remove a cyst that had taken up 99% of the bone mass on my bottom right mandible.

 

As of this year I added a new reason to Extra Life, Janelle a young 10 yr old Pokemon Fanatic I met who is currently under going treatments for Whilm's Kidney Cancer.

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I won't say much, because the video pretty much says it all.

 

 

If you don't have time for the 11:10 of video, my son Dominic was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013 at 11 months old. I did my first Extra Life game day two months later. He was two when he died this past September and now I dedicate my life to giving back to the hospital that did all it could for him.

 

I know too many other kids who have or continue to benefit from the Alberta Children's Hospital. It's good to know all the money we've raised helps them.

 

#Dominicstrong

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Why I Extra Life? 

 

I am a middle school science teacher, and 6 years ago (when I started) I had two students currently undergoing treatments up at our local hospital.  I found out about extra life, 1 week before the big event.  Did my best to raise money.  

 

Since starting Extra Life, I found that a small number of my students have all be up to our hospital for treatments.  Also, I looked back into my own medical records and saw that I was in the same hospital for heart problems when I was 15. (Though I think this was well before the Children's Hospital was set up there, but still). 

 

So I Extra Life for the Students I know that have gone there... For friends that have had children go through any of the childrens hospitals we support and should my child ever need to go there. 

 

It's all For the Kids! 

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All these stories are so inspiring and I feel like I can't even live up to them... but..

 

I Extra Life because I love giving back. I was lucky enough to be born into a fortunate life and while I did grow up poor, we generally got everything we wanted and were very healthy children. I know some people are not this lucky and I learned this the hard way when I was about 5 years old and my family started doing foster care. We would take in less fortunate children and I would see how their parents/family would abuse them and the situations they were born into. Luckily my mother instilled in me that blood or not, these kids were my brothers and sisters and having that happen was the most fulfilling yet most saddening thing of my life because I would constantly gain and lose family. 

 

Enough rambling, just figured some back story would be nice. People are always looking for happiness and from everything you hear and/or read it comes from acquiring things (more money, nicer car, bigger house, etc) but when you really take a deep look into these peoples lives you'll find there is something missing and most of them will you tell you that. I truly believe that the best way someone can gain true happiness is when you put others before yourself, whether you know them or not and not expecting anything in return. There truly is no better feeling I've ever had.

 

Now I don't have a story like most of you but something happened recently in my family. Five years ago my uncle (who is handicap and also has cerebral palsy) had a son with his wife who is also handicap. His name is Joseph and he was born with ACC or complete agenesis of the corpus callosum which is a congenital disorder in which there is a complete absence of the corpus callosum (which is the band of white matter connecting the two hemispheres of the brain). He was also born with an underdeveloped cerebellum and no sutures for brain growth so he needed cranial reconstruction and our local childrens hospital did and has been taking care of him making sure he is alright.

 

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(He is the little guy in the red with my sisters and cousin)

 

I didn't know that then but I know it now and it makes it all that much more personal for me. Not that it even has to be personal. So for my whole life I've been passionate about giving back to others as my mother had instilled in me since childhood. I've also always been passionate about gaming for as long I can remember. So what is better than combining both of these passions for the good, happiness and health of others? It is an absolutely win-win. So I Extra Life for all these kids going through unimaginable trauma and horror and still keeping that smile on their face. I Extra Life for all these kids through no fault of their own born into situations and conditions that will be life or death or lifelong battles when the worst I've had to go through is losing my spot on varsity baseball because of an injury which seems so staggeringly insignificant when you're talking about what these kids have to go through. Especially when I went down there and met them at ELU 2016. Just to see what all these kids were going through and all the pain their family must have been going through and see them persevering and remaining positive and happy is the most powerful message I could ever get and it makes me want to do it that much more.

 

In conclusion, I Extra Life #ForTheKids

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Honestly? I started with Extra Life because Trion Worlds, and their MMO I was playing at the time, Rift, were doing in game events with free items and such for participating. My first two years of it were because of that. I ended up sticking with it even after I quit playing Rift and my motivation has shifted completely to the kids. I've gotten to meet so many of them and their families. Listen to their stories. It has definitely changed me for the better. These days, I try to do everything I can for them. Through EL and other programs, such as a charity cosplay group I recently joined.

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I started doing Extra Life when I first heard about it simply because I'm a fan of games, and they get a lot of negative publicity and blame put on them, so I figured this was a way to offset that with a little good.  After my first two years of doing Extra Life my motivations changed quite a bit.  

 

My son Lucas was born with a congenital heart defect called TAPVR (I'll save you the big long words that stands for).  He had to be taken to Akron Children's Hospital for evaluation where they found the issue.  The next night something went wrong and his surgery had to be done immediately.  So on Christmas Eve a big group of doctors, surgeons, nurses, etc. etc. assembled and worked all day to do an open-heart surgery and fix what essentially would have claimed his life had we not been there.  

 

All-in-all he would spend almost his entire first four months of life in his PICU room, need two open-heart surgeries, get a tracheotomy and a feeding tube put in, and have a handful of heart caths done.  The love and care that he received over those four months is beyond anything I could ever manage to put into words.  We lived in his hospital room and got to know a lot of the staff.  We laughed with them, cried with them, and on occasional slow day just tried to pass the time with them.  My son is here today because of a lot of hard work from a ton of extremely talented and caring people and I will never be able to say thank you to them enough.  

 

He's a happy and healthy four year old today because of them and that means the world to me.  So once a year I do Extra Life and try and say thank you in the best way I possibly can by helping them do what they did for us for someone else.  

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I am a boring story.  And one I often tell the people that I am trying to get support from.

 

I have 3 kids.  All healthy.  I do Extra Life for those that are not so lucky.  A child in the hospital is unfair.  If I can make that unfairness, better, I will try.

 

@Asaomar I still play for Team Trion, because I have a small Hospital and few players.  I no longer play their games either, but I join their team because they are a major sponsor for Extra Life.

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Honestly I saw an online friend taking part and though to myself - that's a fundraising event more at my skill/fitness level. Then I realised who it supported and I got to talking to my parents. Whilst not actually a CMN hospital I was treated for a heart condition when I was < 1 year old by a local childrens hospital in the UK who although somewhat government funded still need outside support.

 

In my first year I was able to raise money for them and it felt like 2 decades worth of trying to give something back. I can't raise money for them now due to legal changes in the way Extra Life operates overseas but it's now an annual tradition and I don't want to stop!

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I got involved from a coworker who was doing Extra Life, but i also got involved because of my nephew. he was diagnosed with luekemia when he was 6 months old and fought a long time, but unfortunately passed away at the age of 14. i remember his passing, but the nurses and doctors he had became a part of our family. and we couldn't thank them enough for the support they gave us during that time. i do it in his memory and to be able to give a little hope to kids that need it. 

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Awesome reason. Depression sucks. Glad you're at least partially out of that funk.

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42 minutes ago, djotaku said:

Awesome reason. Depression sucks. Glad you're at least partially out of that funk.

Honestly, I don't like to talk about my depression, but I do because the stigma it has is undeserved. In my case, I'm managing it well with medication and mindfulness. Though I still have bad days it's never as bad as it once was. Like a bright light in the dark, Extra Life inspires me and gives me something positive to hang on to when the going gets tough. That said, if anyone reading this right now is struggling with depression and wants to talk, please send me a PM, because you can get through it, and I'd like to help if I can.

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Just derailing a second to add another voice to that--I too battle with crippling depression (of the bipolar 2 variety) and am always happy to talk to anyone in need.  Gaming got me through some of the darkest times of my life, and the communities I became a part of during those times helped me find a reason to get out of bed every day. 
Makes me wish I had found THIS community back then.  By the time I came across Extra Life I was in a better place, but it still gives me a sense of purpose.

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