Thousands of people in mid-Michigan play video games every day, but this Saturday they can play for a worthy cause.
Many local gamers will participate in the annual Extra Life online gaming event. The 25-hour marathon (due to daylight saving time) drives awareness and donations for 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada, of which Sparrow is a member.
Gamers solicit donations from friends, family, neighbors, and community members to help support their game day on Saturday, Nov. 2.
"There are sure to be plenty of sore thumbs and bloodshot eyes when this is all over, but it's for such a great cause," said Stacie Peltomaa, Development Officer for the Sparrow Foundation. "All money raised stays local and helps to benefit the Sparrow Children's Center."
Some gamers will be playing in honor of Bradley "Jay" Ford, of Perry, who died in July from leukemia at age 21. Jay was an avid gamer and donated video games, an Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 to the Children's Center. He even asked his parents to have friends and family donate games and money to Sparrow in lieu of flowers at his funeral.
"It just made me feel proud that he thought of others even in this time where he must have been scared out of his mind," said Stephania Ford, Jay's mother. "He knew that his life was ending but he wanted to make others, who had to stay at Sparrow, happier."
You can learn more about Jay and his inspiring story by watching a new video on SparrowTV.org.
Gamers who are interested in helping the cause and playing in the marathon can register for free at www.Extra-Life.org and select Sparrow. The event begins this Saturday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m. and lasts until Sunday, Nov. 3, at 10 a.m.
Michigan State University is holding its marathon one week later due to the MSU/University of Michigan football game. It's open to all MSU students, faculty, and staff. It begins Saturday, Nov. 9, at 10 a.m. in Hubbard Hall room 132. You can sign up by emailing MSUExtraLife@gmail.com.