Pokéthon Revive: A Week of Gaming and Fun Spreads Hope

From July 23- 28, 2017, gamers united to play Pokémon games from X & Y to Sun & Moon live on the streaming platform Twitch to raise money for Help Hope Live. It was a week of memories and milestones, with 740 total donations and 32 in-person attendees!

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In case you missed them, here are a few of our favorite moments:

  • Ample pie-in-the-face-ing
  • The return of the classic and widely-feared challenge Mr. Smith’s Soda Machine Suicide
  • Our first-ever opportunity for Help Hope Live clients to participate in the marathon and tell their stories on stream
  • Director AWildAbra gets hot dog’d
  • A violin serenade by popular demand
  • Getting selected as the beneficiary for the next Pokéthon!

The marathon wrapped up with a jaw-dropping total: $15,152.87 raised for our nonprofit!


How Your Pokéthon Revive Donation is Used


While you may have made your Pokéthon Revive donation online, that doesn’t mean an errant Porygon whisked it away to be sealed in cyberspace forever. Every donation made to Help Hope Live during Pokéthon Revive makes a difference. Here are a few examples.


You provided clients with compassionate and personal support during a time of crisis.

Sometimes the emotional weight of a medical crisis can be as hard to bear as its physical and financial impact. Your donation allows us to do our part in relieving that burden and showing clients that they are not alone in the challenges they are facing.

“You have no idea what our Help Hope Live Fundraising Coordinator’s emails have meant to me today. I prayed on the way to work that I would hear from someone at Help Hope Live today, just to know that there is someone out there on our side. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” -Heather Stuart, cousin of our client Elise Salsberry, Southeast Spinal Cord Injury Fund


Since Pokéthon Revive, you helped 20 people receive medical fundraising support for the first time.

20 clients have started fundraising with us since Pokéthon Revive. Your donation makes it possible for us to reach new people and bring them into the Help Hope Live family.


Since August 1, you helped 360 clients cover vital but uninsured medical expenses.

For some clients, the financial help they receive through fundraising can literally be the difference between life and death:

  • Raise enough to be put on the transplant waiting list
  • Cover post-transplant immunosuppressant medications that prevent rejection but can cost thousands out-of-pocket every month for the life of the organ
  • Put voice-activated emergency communication technology within reach for individuals with a spinal cord injury who are living alone

For others, fundraising makes it possible to achieve a new level of independence, mobility, or quality of life:

  • Allow a client to return to being an active and engaged community member through accessible transportation
  • Enable home modifications so an individual who has experienced a spinal cord injury can leave a treatment facility and return home to his or her family
  • Offset experimental treatments that may provide relief to clients living with a catastrophic illness
  • Help return mobility to clients with a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury through intensive physical therapy that can cost hundreds per hour out-of-pocket with no help from insurance

A Marathon to Remember


We wanted to get a sense of what makes the wheels turn for this beloved volunteer-run event. We spoke to James Bishop, director of Pokéthon, to find out.


What inspired you to start Pokéthon?

I was inspired by the charity efforts of other streamers and content creators. The first marathons I ran took heavy inspiration from the Extralives series of marathons, while later ones took inspiration from Zeldathon.


Where does your love of the Pokémon games come from?

When I was young, I moved frequently. Without having friends nearby and being a gamer, I heavily latched onto the Pokémon series of games and, in turn, the games’ emphasis on sharing Pokémon with others helped me find friends. The games have stuck with me ever since.


How does the gaming community support these events?

The gaming community can be fickle at times, as it’s full of a diverse set of people with various opinions. Charity marathons constantly unite this amazing community together: no matter which platform or developer you like, any gamer can get behind the idea of gaming for good.


What have been your biggest challenges?

The largest difficulty I faced doing Pokéthon was the transition from a house marathon to a hotel marathon. Moving from something I could do in my own living room to something in a hotel is a major step and it has been a daunting challenge. It’s important to me to run these events despite the challenges because I have always had an internal drive to make sure that the things I love also give love to others. I love gaming, the Pokémon franchise, and my friends, and this is a way to express that love and help others with that love.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own charity gaming marathon?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. People like me who help to run these events are always happy to help however we can. If you need advice, ideas, and tips, anyone in the community can help.


Does the success of this marathon depend on unpaid volunteers?

YES! From each attendee to the developers and all the people who help spread the marathon in their own special ways, there are countless people who help the marathon advance. I thank every one of them. We don’t take a single penny of the funds raised during the marathon: all proceeds from Pokéthon benefit Help Hope Live.

I probably devote 10-20 hours personally per week to Pokéthon between organizing the marathon, video editing, planning, meetings, and development. Less than a year ago, I established a Patreon where people could donate to me to help with marathon expenses. I receive payment but only from this loyal group of personal digital sponsors via Patreon.


Why do you think people enjoy Pokéthon so much?

There is an excitement to it all: it’s like reuniting with a group of friends you only get to see a few times per year to have a week-long party to play games, have fun, and do something good for others.

These events help me bond with my friends in so many ways, and I love getting to do this with them. I can’t pick one single memory out because the community has just given me so many.


Why did you choose Help Hope Live as the beneficiary for this event and the next one?

Help Hope Live came onto my radar when I met some of their amazing representatives at Zeldathon Hope. There, I saw an amazing passion, and I knew I had to learn more about them. After time with Help Hope Live’s employees and reading up on their mission, I was hooked, and I devoted the next Pokéthon to them.


What are three ways people can support the next Pokéthon?

  1. If you can save even a little, even the smallest donation can help. The largest portion of our marathon total typically comes from small donations.
  2. Spread the word! Tell anyone and everyone who might be interested to help get the word out.
  3. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to help the community gear up for future events!

Stay tuned to Help Hope Live and Pokéthon on social media and you’ll be the first to know when the next Pokéthon to benefit our nonprofit is announced! Thank you for your generous support!

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