The month of June is always a special month for me. My birthday is in June, and Mario Marathon hosts an event to help fund my favorite charity, Child’s Play. Some of you may be asking yourselves, “What are these events? Why are they important?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Child’s Play Charity was founded in 2003 by Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins as a means to improve the lives of sick children through video games, toys, books, and movies. Initially aiding only the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, it has since expanded to over 70 hospitals worldwide. That’s a lot of hospitals, and a lot of sick children. Some might even call them future gamers! Child’s Play has raised over $12.5 million thanks to the assistance of gamers everywhere, celebrities like Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, and Adam Sessler, and even game developers like Markus Persson.
Each month, they sponsor a plethora of events by gamers, for gamers, to raise money. These events include things such as the aforementioned Mario Marathon, 24-Hour game-a-thons, and various other marathons of some of our favorite video games.
These are just a handful of the yearly events that raise money and awareness of this amazing charity. I could spend all day simply explaining to you the many, many reasons to support Child’s Play, but I can’t say it any better than their own About Us section, or the relevant Wikipedia article.
That’s great, but what about Mario Marathon?
Mario Marathon is an event hosted by an amazing group of people in Lafayette, Indiana. Every year, Brian Brinegar, John Groth, Chris Deckard, and a host of their various friends and family members, sit down to play, you guessed it, Mario games. Spanning the past 25 years of Super Mario history, they play until they finish every single game on the list,or, in the event the donations stop coming, they play until they’ve completed the last goal unlocked.
Last year, they managed to raise $112,675 for Child’s Play after playing Mario non-stop for 110 hours! This year, they’ve set their sights even higher, but they won’t be able to reach it without the help of gamers like you. In the past week, Arqade has raised $765 from its users alone, and soon the folks at StackExchange will be matching up to $500 of that total. It’s really a spectacular thing.
Now, you may be wondering why Child’s Play is important to me. I’ve often thought of myself as a gamer. The idea of supporting generations of future gamers is something I feel very strongly about. Without gamers, our humble little Q&A site wouldn’t exist. Starting to see why this is kind of a big deal?
In 2006, my niece was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. She spent the better part of that year in and out of hospitals due to a combination of shoddy local doctors, and misinformed family members. It was a very hard time for our family. It was around that time that I first heard about Child’s Play. I was hooked immediately, having spent some time hospitalized as a child myself. The one thing I remember the most about my time in the hospital was how boring it was. How awesome would it have been if I’d had a Super Nintendo to play while I was recovering from surgery?
Thanks to Child’s Play, and the money raised for them by events such as Mario Marathon, or gift purchases via each hospital’s Amazon wishlist, these things are possible! These children can play Nintendo, Xbox, or Playstation while they are recovering, or undergoing treatment. How amazing is that?
Thanks to events like Mario Marathon, and thousands upon thousands of other gamers, Child’s Play managed raise 175% of their intended goal in 2011.
To be completely honest, when I mentioned Mario Marathon to Lauren, I wasn’t expecting things to go as well as they did. I’m not much for surprises, but the amount of money raised by the awesome community at Arqade in the brief amount of time they managed to raise it, well, it’s just amazing. Thank you, Arqade, and thank you Lauren, for helping to make this year a memorable one. I am truly touched by the reception it has received thus far.