Gaming for Good: Extra Life International Participation Update

For those not in the know, Extra Life and its founder, Jeremy ‘Doc’ Adams, are both held in very high regard and kept near and dear to our Big Red hearts. In recent years Extra Life has grown exponentially, to the point where it made over $4 million last year alone. This week saw an update to information regarding the collecting of donations from outside of the USA. It was not the best news for international participants. I include the full wording of this update below, just to help spread the word and so people know, not only the information, but also recognize the amount of effort put into this – and in the extreme example where we may be lucky enough that this is seen by exactly the right person, perhaps even help find a solution to the situation.

I have always argued that it really should not matter where in the world you save the life of a child, but I know that for people in a similar position to me (being an avid, but not rich, supporter of Extra Life trying to collect money in the UK) that not being able to collect money for a local hospital will likely limit your ability to fundraise.

I will also have to admit something that I have not confessed elsewhere. No matter how worthy the cause, I am terrible at asking other people for money; even in cases where they have pledged it. In previous years, whenever I have been able to afford it, I have been the main financial backer of my Extra Life fundraising. This year I will be more honest about that being the case and will be openly sponsoring myself $200 to get the ball rolling. I am not looking for sympathy, especially as I often use Extra Life as a good excuse to catch up with my Pile of Shame and I have never been as proactive in doing some of the great things that my BRB cohorts have done to raise funds and awareness in recent years – with Jon playing Rock Band for 24 hours or Kev inflicting 24 hours of Dark Souls upon himself – but donations will be greatly received.

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I also want to take a minute to acknowledge Doc in all of this. Yes, this may come at a time when we have to share some bad news, but if we are to revel in your victories, it seems only right that we help to rally the troops in your tougher times. I also have some knowledge of just how much time and effort Doc has put into this, as I briefly spoke to him about it at last year’s E3 – even at that point it had been a long running issue that visibly weighed on his conscience. Even without Doc openly stating that he feels guilt for not finding an effective solution in time, I know him well enough to know he will take this to heart and take it as a slight against himself. Please don’t. We couldn’t be prouder of everything you have gone on to achieve with Extra Life, Doc. Victoria couldn’t be prouder. Extra Life is a gift to the world – a miraculous gift from you and Victoria that thousands of children inside and outside of America have directly benefitted from. If international participation isn’t sorted by this time, then it simply wasn’t possible. You already achieve the impossible on a yearly basis, it just may be that more than once a year is too much to ask of one man. I can only hope to give you the help your efforts deserve. Thank you.

Extra Life 2014 is on Saturday 25th October. Many games feature you as the hero. On the 25th October, you get the chance to step up and actually be a hero for a day.

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“Dear Extra Lifer’s,
This is a pretty difficult email to write.  I feel like I have let you down.  I’ll explain.
In 2008, Extra Lifers from around the world came together to rally around the legacy of my friend, Tori Enmon.  They helped raise funds for Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where Tori was treated.  In 2010, when I donated the intellectual property of Extra Life to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, CMN Hospitals had a presence in the UK and Australia, and we were finally able to offer players from outside the US and Canada the chance to game on behalf of kids closer to home.
In 2012, we learned that due to legal restrictions on raising funds in those countries, we were unable to continue listing those international hospitals and due to domestic restrictions we became unable to disburse funds outside of the US and Canada.
Last year, in 2013 we pursued several opportunities that we thought might help us bridge the gap and one-by-one those opportunities fell through for a variety of reasons.  During that time we identified several hospitals here in North America that treat an enormous number of kids from all over the world and created separate Extra Life listings for those hospitals that would allow gamers from anywhere to raise funds that would be used to bring kids from around the world to those hospitals for treatment and to support their families while they were there.
I’ve heard from many of you that you’re in this no matter what, but that this still represented challenges for you in raising funds locally, when those funds were bound for a US or Canadian hospital.  That makes perfect sense to me and my whole team.
So this year we redoubled our efforts to find a legal and transparent way to allow our incredible Extra Lifers from all over the world to raise funds that would benefit local kids, the same way your American and Canadian counterparts do.  We shook trees, we made inquiries, and even knocked on the door of a few other charities to try and find some sort of solution.  Several of those conversations took way too long to progress to a dead end.  I blame myself for allowing this to happen.  The last ditch chance for us dried up just a couple of weeks ago.
Leaving us right back where we started.
You deserve better than this from me and from my team.  I wish that I had a solution but I do not.  I am so sorry.  You’ve stood by this program, many of you since 2008, and have been an incredible source of support for kids all over the world… and I feel like I’ve let you down.  I want you to be able to help local kids with Extra Life, no matter where you live.
We’re now down to Plan Z.  Once again, we have added three hospitals to the Extra Life beneficiary list that are located here in North America.  Below, I have listed their names and a description of their amazing work on behalf of kids from all over the world.  While I apologize for coming up short on the solution that I sought for you, I very proudly submit for your consideration, these amazing hospitals who are extremely worthy outlets for your generous efforts.
SickKids – Toronto
Improving child health around the world is a priority for SickKids.  With the support of donors like you, SickKids works with partners around the world to strengthen local health systems, offers continuing education and clinical mentorship for international health care professionals, and when needed, provides highly specialized medical and surgical treatments for international patients without access to the care they need in their home countries.  On average, SickKids hosts more than 1,200 international residents and fellows from approximately 64 countries around the world, and assists more than 500 children from more than 113 countries.
Children’s National Health System is the premier provider of pediatric care in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Committed to providing the best care possible for kids from all over the world, Children’s National has provided state-of-the-art medical services, access and accommodations to patients and families from more than 30 countries. Your support through Extra Life will support the extraordinary needs of Children’s National and the international patients and families who travel to Washington, DC for care.
Boston Children’s Hospital is committed to providing the best care possible for kids from all over the world. Boston Children’s has provided state-of-the-art medical services, access and accommodations to patients and families from more than 100 countries. Your support through Extra Life will support the extraordinary needs of international patients and families who travel to Boston Children’s for care.
If you would like to sign up as an international player for Extra Life in 2014, you will find all three of these hospitals added to the end of the drop-down, prefixed by INT’L – then followed by the hospital name.
If you are so-inclined you may register here.
We want you to once again be a part of this year’s Extra Life efforts.  Personally, I humbly beg your forgiveness in not solving this for 2014.  With help from higher powers in our organization, I will aggressively pursue what you deserve in 2015.  I will work for the solution you deserve, no matter how long it takes me.
Thank you very much for your time, your passion, and your support of sick kids through Extra Life.
You can reach me personally at jadams@cmnhospitals.org with your feedback.Then, now and always at your service…Doc
Jeromy Adams
Founder/Managing Director, Extra Life
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals”
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