Video-gaming for charity

ooooBy Megan Freeman

“I think it’s good to be involved in charity in some way,” said James Danzl III, a student at Fitchburg State University. “Seeing other people I know online do this kind of charity event made me feel like I could help.”

Danzl stayed up for 48 hours straight with only a five-hour break for his own charity effort, a live stream of himself playing video games as part of the Extra Life Gaming Marathon.

“The stream is to raise money for Baystate Children’s Hospital,” Danzl said, “and this is my second year doing the event.”

Extra Life encourages people to accept donations to stay awake for a long period of time and play video games while doing so. The money collected from the donations received goes toward Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield to help pay for children who cannot afford treatments for life-threatening illnesses.

His first donation, made last year, totaled $330. This year, he set the bar much higher by setting a $500 goal for himself and his donors.

“I had a $500 goal, and we hit it around 3:30 a.m. the first night,” Danzl says. “In total, the stream raised $575, but donations are still open and it’s possible that number will go up.”

Many people donated money specifically to add time to his streaming, which is part of the reason his stream lasted so long. One of the most notable events he held during his stream was a playthrough of several Mary-Kate and Ashley games. For every dollar donated, Danzl was forced to play the game for another minute. Danzl has mixed feelings about this part of the event.

On the one hand, by using those games as incentive to get people to donate, he obtains more to donate, according to him. But on the other hand, he has to play the games designed for young girls. Whether or not he enjoyed playing the games, though, Danzl has to say that using these games is an effective way to get interest in what he’s doing. This main event, at least numbers-wise, was a success and added to his contribution toward the children’s hospital.

“I don’t know whether the Mary-Kate and Ashley games are a highlight or a lowlight of the stream,” Danzl said.

Staying awake throughout this extra time, though, proved to be a challenge itself. For the second day, Danzl was joined by his friend Jared Cyhowski for both moral support and as a companion to keep him awake throughout the stream.

“People talking and chatting were a big help. I ate protein bars off camera. But by the time my friend and I got to the pizza, we just ate on camera,” Danzl said. Hunger overtook the need for keeping the professional look.

Another effective way to keep himself awake, according to Danzl, is using smelling salts to keep alert. The prominent scent they produce managed to help keep Danzl and Cyhowski awake for the duration of the second day of streaming.

“My sense of smell is still a little off,” Danzl said.

Now that the stream is over, there is time to rest while still generating support for the Baystate Children’s Hospital until Nov 30.

The event was not only participated in by Danzl, and there were many participating teams involved. Danzl was a part of a group known as Team Giant Bomb, and other members of this group participated in streams as well. This event is well known throughout the gaming community, and it is also well known throughout the online community, even to those who do not frequently play video games. Danzl’s group made a generous donation of $122,720 last year and since donations are still open until Nov. 30, it’s still possible for the group to surpass that goal.

“I played a lot of the same games I played while growing up,” Danzl said.

To help raise money for the Baystate Children’s Hospital and to help this inspiring group raise even more than they thought possible, click on the here.

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