Local Gaming Business Plays for Children
On an Autumn Saturday each year since 2008, tens of thousands of gamers have joined together to save the lives of local kids in a celebration of gaming culture we call Extra Life. From console games to tabletop role-playing games to even lawn sports, Extra Life gives those who love to play a chance to do something fun and challenging, all the while helping a good cause. This year on Nov. 2, gamers all across the world pledged to play 25 hours to help heal the children and families in their communities (an extra hour for day light savings!).
Buddy Baird and Dave Walker, owners of Ocala and Gainesville’s video game store Gamers HQ, became UF Health’s very own Extra Life heroes. From 10 a.m. on Saturday to 10 a.m. on “Fall Back Sunday,” the Gamers HQ team of seven diligently played games and fundraised for Children’s Miracle Network. Team members Alex and Loren even dedicated some of their gaming hours to building their very own children’s hospital in the Minecraft video game.
“After suffering an accident, I know from firsthand experience that Children’s Miracle Network makes a difference. I lived in Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala for 48 days—most of which was spent in traction and later a wheel chair,” Dave explained. “The Nintendo Entertainment System and games that the hospital had were from donations, the same donations we are trying to raise here. It’s tough out there for everyone but even a dollar is helpful. Together we can make a difference in a little fighter’s life.”
Dave’s mom, Catherine, added, “As a mother who went through his horrifying accident when he was 11 years old, I can’t say enough about how help and support from others can make all the difference. We almost lost him, but look at him now. A doctor at Shands in the pediatrics orthopedic department fixed his mangled leg and gave him back his childhood.”
After 25 hours of no sleep, eye strain from video games and commitment to help provide the best treatments, comfort and hope, Gamers HQ raised more than $1,200 for our kids! Together, the entire gaming community in Gainesville and Orlando raised $9,286 for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.