NOTE: This retrospective was originally written immediately following the 24 hour charity marathon (well, at least immediately after awakening from a dead sleep). Team AcaGameia is continuing to do its part in 2014 with another 24 Hour Marathon. Until then, you can follow Team AcaGameia on Twitter, where they live-tweet games of Monsterhearts.
This year’s Extra Life marathon is complete. That’s such an odd feeling to have, especially with the torrential onslaught of activity it’s required the last week or so. In terms of offering any sort of post-game wrapup commentary, I’m really not sure what I should be saying. So let’s start with the basics: The games were fun, and we certainly hope that they were as fun to watch as they were to play. The food was spectacular (despite being primarily snackfood and pizza), and I’d like to think we’ll all be planning on doing this again next year.
But for me, the biggest thing to take away from this are the surprises.
I’m surprised that we raised as much money as we did. To be sure, I’ve done fundraising, and I know that compared to professional fundraisers we pulled in approximately half a week’s haul each (or, for particularly good fundraisers, we got a single night’s worth of work). But we also didn’t attack it like professionals do. We simply asked our friends to spare some dollars, and I know that in my case I never expected to go much further than my initial $100 goal.
And yet, after the dust settled, my family and friends had given seven times that amount.
Seven. Hundred. Dollars.
And it wasn’t just the amount raised. It was that the support I received came from a wide set of people and, in some cases, involved other people getting involved. My sister was kind enough to talk to her friends and organize a group donation from Aquinas College students. My mother printed off an explaination letter I’d written up and gathered cash donations from the teachers and staff at North Branch High School. I received donations from friends I’d made in Nebraska, friends I’d made in Ohio, friend I’d made in Michigan, family members I haven’t been able to see nearly enough…I was completely unprepared to see the support I saw. And I know I’ve said this a thousand times before, but it cannot be said enough: Thank you. Thank you all so much.
Team Acagameia raised, in the end, $1,715 for Michigan Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Every single dollar of that is going to those hospitals. $360 is going to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. $1,315 is going to Hurley Children’s Hospital -the Hospital that saw me through one of the scariest moments in my childhood-, thanks to the donations my friends and family gave as well as the efforts of David Wilson and Seth Brodbeck.
We managed to do that despite the Extra Life website being taken down in what apparently ended up being four Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks, which prevented people from being able to make online donations. One particular donation, to my knowledge our last one for the charity this year, deserves special mention. I have had the privilege of openly thanking every person who’s willingly put their name in my donation pile, and I would be especially remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Merry Rosenberg. Merry initially tried to make her donation during the first round of DDoS attacks (it was actually her issues that brought our own attention to the issue), and was only able to get the donation in later that night (at 10:36 pm, long after I’d gone to bed to sleep for nearly 13 hours). Merry graciously gave an amount that was not only the largest single donation anyone had received on the team, but was also enough to push us over our $1,500 stretch goal. I can heartily assure her that her generosity was the talk of the table for those on the team who met to have brunch after sleeping off our 25 hour marathon.
But in this postscript I really want to equally thank everyone who gave their money and/or support. I want to thank everyone who poked our Livestream and offered communal support that way- I don’t think any of us expected to have that large an audience for that length of time (by the time we ended we had ~12 people watching), and having that group chat with us was a great way to connect with everyone and at least gave me the motivation to see our gaming all the through to the end.
So thank you all so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.