INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Most parents want their kids to get off the couch and put down their video games, but this weekend, kids and adults alike can use their gaming for good as part of a fundraiser for children’s hospitals around the country.
For 25 hours (thanks to the time change), gamers around the country can spend their Saturday playing video games, either together or on their own through streaming sites, with donors supporting them, much like a charity run or dance marathon.
In Indianapolis, those funds will support work at Riley Hospital for Children, helping bedridden children get back on their feet again.
In video games, players often act as heroes, helping out people in need. The Extra Life program through Children’s Miracle Network gives people a chance to be heroes on both sides of the screen.
Video game players and you get poisoned, knocked out or even die, there’s always an item or respawn that you can access to bring your character back to health and move on like it never happened. But in real life, when kids are afflicted with a condition, they can’t always access that real-life equivalent of those items.
That’s where funds from Extra Life’s gaming marathon comes in to help.
“Anywhere from research to helping make sure that kids and families have access to better care down the line, making sure that hopefully there are cures for some of these illnesses and diseases that kids are facing,” said Kate Sarlitto, communications process manager at Riley Children’s Foundation.
“But it also goes toward things like our child life specialists at the hospital, who are really those comfort experts who help make a pretty scary experience in the hospital –try to make it as normal as possible,” said Sarlitto.
“As of (Friday) morning, they already raised $86,000,” said Donna Fischer, community fundraising events manager at Riley Children’s Foundation. “So we’re going into National Game Day in great shape to hit our goal and probably even surpass our goal of $145,000.”
But the games don’t stop with electronics. They can be board games or even sports.
“It’s whatever you want to do to have fun and raise money for Riley,” Fischer said.
While it may be fun and literal games, the hundreds of gamers participating are making a difference in hundreds of lives.
“They help make sure that we are able to provide care to kids, making sure that we have the necessary tools, necessary people in place to provide that excellent level of care which families turn to more than 320,000 times a year,” Sarlitto said.
If you’d like to register as a player, click here.
If you’d like to donate to the Riley team, you can find their fundraising page here.