Q and A: Buffalo Guild President Explains What Extra Life Means
What is Extra Life? Extra Life is a Children's Miracle Network Hospital fundraising program for the gaming community. Basically, what that means is that every year, gamers come together and pledge on the Extra Life website that they will raise money for the children at a local hospital off a specific list. This is done by playing games for 24 hours to ultimately raise money to save and improve the lives of sick and injured kids. All funds that are raised stay local to the hospital of your choosing and overall help over 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals across North America.
When you sign up on website and pledge to play and help the kids, you automatically receive your own fundraising website, which mine is shown in a picture below. You have the option of joining for free which just allows you to go out and raise money, or you have the option of upgrading to the Platinum Extra Lifer title in which you would donate $15.00 of your own money and have the ability to earn select power ups like exclusive fundraising medals and t-shirts!
But just joining up and participating in the movement is just part of the fun. Recently I reached out to my local hospital -- Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo -- and got into contact with a local Guild President for the program. Yes, there are guilds! And nicely enough, this gentleman answered a few questions for me about how guilds work, how you can join them, and what Extra Life means to him. Take a look.
PapaSisler: Who are you and how are affiliated with Extra Life?
Bubba Landes: I am Bubba Landes and I am the President of the Extra Life Guild of Buffalo.
PS: What is an Extra Life Guild?
BL: The Guild is a way to be organized with the national charity and the local ambassador with the Children's Miracle Network, which is where the funds end up going for the hospital. We mainly facilitate getting more volunteers signed up and ready to play to fundraise for the cause.
PS: Can people join it and participate somehow?
BL: We will have a team on the Official Extra Life page once the Marathon gets closer, however right now, joining us on Facebook and letting us know you're new is the best way. We will be having meetings to discuss better fundraising techniques and meet ups in the coming months.
PS: How long have you been part of the Extra Life Program at Woman and Childrens Hospital of Buffalo?
BL: This will be my 5th year. We have gone from a group of less than 20 to almost 275 participants in that time.
PS: What does Extra Life Campaign mean to you personally?
BL: Extra Life is, quite simply, 'For the Kids'. We as volunteers put in a lot of hours to try and indirectly put a smile on the faces of some of these less fortunate kids.
PS: As someone who is "all hands on deck" with the program, how do you see the money being raised used at the hospital?
BL: I've seen the money go to video game systems, games, coloring supplies, books, toys, and much more. It has been discussed in the past on what we'd like the money to be directly spent on and this is what is decided.
PS: Do you have any personal touching stores that deal with Extra Life, the guild, and/or the children at the hospital?
BL: About 3 years ago I met with Lisa as one of the stronger Extra Life participants. I went to the hospital and took a tour on Kids Day. I met with the Star of the Kids Day Paper and shook her and her father's hands. I went into a room where there was a mother and 3 young boys. The boys were all jumping around yelling, like children do, but one was more quiet and reserved. He was obviously sick and the family was visiting. The boys were playing Mario Kart on the Wii U.
Lisa told the mom, "Because of people like Bubba here, we can afford to buy these games for the boys to play." This caught me off guard. The mother looked at me and said, "Thank you." "Oh, it's not a problem," I whispered, holding back my tears, "I'm happy to do it."
I'll never forget the look in that womans eyes. That even a little something like a Wii U Mario Kart game could bring a sense of familiarity and calm to the sick child is all I needed. I'll always do everything I can for Extra Life and Buffalo's Children.
PS: Any words of advice for those who are raising money and participating in this movement, and/or words of hope to bring in more support?
BL: Sometimes in order to raise money, you're going to need to offer incentives. Offer to play a game outside of your comfort zone and stream it. I played Barbies Dream House my second year -- it wasn't that great. Come out and join us, we're all people who believe in bringing great vibes to the kids of Buffalo and doing what we can to make it a bright place.
I'd like to once again thank Bubba Landes for taking the time to answer my questions.
Well, there you have it. These words came directly from a president of the local Extra Life Guild. His story with Mario Kart Wii U put me to tears after I placed myself in his shoes. If you have not joined up in the movement of Extra Life, I encourage you to do so using the link at the top of this article. If you want to know how this all started, please see the attached video below.
Thank you to all gamers who have already been participating, for those who will be joining, and those who have supported their fellow local gamers. This would not be possible without you!