Category Archives: In The News

Warrior Momz are Walking 3,000 Miles for an Incredible Cause

Kay Ledson is a mom on a mission.

In 2000, Kay was a successful financial consultant when she got a phone call that would change her family’s life. Her son, Josh, had sustained a spinal cord injury in a winter sports accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

Doctors told Kay her son would spend the rest of his life confined to his bed with less than a 3% chance of recovering any mobility or independence—essentially, a death sentence for the Australian extreme sports athlete.

Despite the shocking prognosis, Kay committed herself to hope, and Josh committed himself to intense rehabilitation in mind, body, and soul.

Less than 5 months later, Kay and Josh walked out of the hospital together.

Josh Wood, Kay’s son, stands next to his canes, braces, and wheelchair.

Kay believes the intensive activity-based therapies she advocated for her son helped him take back his independence and should be accessible to every injured individual who might benefit.

While therapy can help improve bone density, muscle mass, range of motion, balance, stress management, and overall health for individuals living with a spinal cord injury, it is not often covered by health insurance.

That’s why Kay started her incredible quest to walk 3,177 miles across America to raise funds and awareness for activity-based therapy and “Warrior Momz” like her who want to open doors for their families after a catastrophic injury.

Fighting for Change

Kay started her Warrior Momz Walk in southern California on September 22, 2017. By Halloween, she had made her way to New Mexico. Kay will continue to walk east, tracking her progress along the way, to her final destination in Washington, D.C. in March. There she plans to unite with other “Warriors” to share her mission with legislators in the hopes they will help make potentially life-changing therapies easier to access for all people impacted by spinal cord injury.

Kay, right, walks with fellow Warrior Mom Debbie Flynn, vice president of the QUAD Foundation, which helps people with spinal cord injuries access physical therapy resources.

Activity-based therapy often comes with a massive price tag. Based on Help Hope Live’s experience helping families cover uninsured expenses, one year of therapy can cost between $20,000 and $40,000 out-of-pocket.

Donations made in support of Kay’s Warrior Momz Walk to the QUAD Foundation will help make grants and scholarships available for individuals to attend activity-based therapy programs.

Partnering with Help Hope Live

Kay is partnering with Help Hope Live to help our clients who are impacted by spinal cord injury create fundraisers around her walk.

“If you get 100 people to pledge just $0.10 for each mile I walk, you will raise over $31,000 for Help Hope Live to fund unmet SCI expenses,” said Kay. “That’s enough to offset an entire year of intensive physical therapy!”

Warrior Momz unite in their shared mission to fund spinal cord injury therapy

How can you get involved? Contact your Help Hope Live Client Services Coordinator to start planning a fundraiser around the Warrior Momz Walk.

  • Plan a virtual walk
    Ask participants to pledge donations to your Help Hope Live campaign for each mile Kay walks.
  • Engage your local cycle bar or gym
    About hosting a fitness fundraiser where their members and your guests can walk, run, or cycle on pace with Kay–who plans to tackle 22 miles a day!
  • Meet up with Kay
    Follow Warrior Momz Walk on Facebook for Kay’s upcoming stops.

Kay’s 3,177-mile journey ends on March 18, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Help Hope Live is proud to be partnering with Kay, her team of volunteers, and fellow Warrior Momz, dads, brothers, and sisters across the U.S. on this epic quest to raise awareness and funds to help families affected by spinal cord injury. 

We can’t wait to meet Kay at the finish line in D.C. this March! Want to meet us there? Email [email protected] to express your interest.


A Selfless Co-Worker, A Mom Who Won’t Give Up, and the Power of Altruistic Donation

With a little help from our  team, Help Hope Live clients are popping up in headlines every month. Check out three standout stories from spring 2017.

Freddie Hale: Co-Worker Gives the Ultimate Gift

Fighting diabetes, Freddie Hale is undergoing dialysis three days per week for four hours per day – yet he’s still working diligently at Lowe’s in his hometown of Nampa, Idaho. The close bond between Freddie, his co-workers, and the Lowe’s management team lead to an incredible next step: one of his co-workers offered to be a living kidney donor to save Freddie’s life.

Freddie Hale Help Hope LiveTia plans to donate a kidney to her co-worker, Freddie

“I get to help him live,” said his future donor Tia Hess in an article for the Idaho Press-Tribune. “If you can help someone, why not?” Freddie sang her praises, saying, “She’s so giving. I could never repay something like this.” He is waiting for the lifesaving transplant to plan a wedding ceremony with his fiancée, Christa, who calls Tia “my personal hero.” Freddie fundraises for the Northwest Kidney Transplant Fund (when he’s not belting out Billy Joel covers in his garage, that is).

(‘Because it’s Freddie: Co-worker to donate kidney as living donor this summer)

Ilysa Winick: Coast to Coast Support for an Amputee Mom

“This mom of two could be you,” Denise Albert wrote for Good Housekeeping. She is profiling New York resident Ilysa Winick, an active mom, wife, and nursery school owner, who contracted a near-fatal blood infection in June 2016. The infection caused her body to go into septic shock, shutting down her vital organs. She woke up in the hospital a month after she went in. Both of her feet had to be amputated below the knee as did her hands below her elbows.

Ilysa Winick Help Hope Live

Ilysa with her husband and two sons

To complicate matters further, the infection resulted in end-stage renal disease and Ilysa now needs a kidney transplant. “Her two boys need their mom,” wrote Albert. “Her husband needs his wife.” This video shows Ilysa walking with new prosthetics:

Ilysa’s cousin Chrissy, who lives across the country from Ilysa in Florida, organized a CycleBar fundraiser in May to rally her local community to support the New York Catastrophic Illness Fund in honor of Ilysa. “It can happen to anybody,” said Chrissy.Chrissy proved that your Help Hope Live fundraising potential doesn’t have to stop at state lines.

(This Mom, a Recent Quadruple Amputee, Is Now Fighting to Survive)

Mary Kriete: Inspired by Altruism on the Waiting List

Mary Kriete has been on the kidney transplant waiting list for nearly three years. While she waits, she must pursue dialysis for an hour per session four times per day. Her kidneys have just 8% functionality, down from 20% when she started dialysis.

Mary Kriete Help Hope Live

A selfless choice could help Mary get the gift of life

Mary can no longer work, live an active lifestyle, or even keep pets until she gets a transplant. Eight or nine people have offered to become living donors for Mary, but none passed the required medical clearances. In the meantime, she fundraises with Help Hope Live with creative community events like Dine and Donate percentage of sales nights, high teas, silent auctions, and by requesting donations in lieu of birthday gifts. Donations are collected in her honor via the Midwest/West Kidney Transplant Fund.

An article from The Missourian puts Mary’s story alongside an incredible tale of hope. Dr. Jackie Miller had planned to be an altruistic donor for decades. In August 2016, with the support of family, friends, and her faith, she donated her kidney to a stranger. Dr. Miller hopes her altruistic choice will help others to make the decision to be living donors to help people on the transplant waiting list like Mary.

(‘It Was a Beautiful Journey’)

Get your Help Hope Live fundraising story in local headlines! Contact your Fundraising Coordinator today and let us help you with press outreach.

Feeling “Blessed,” Raising Thousands, and Finding Hope: Our Clients in the News

Just a few months into 2017, Help Hope Live clients are getting their stories featured in news outlets across the nation. Here are three standout stories of hope.

Rachelle Ledbetter: Community Responds to Rare Diagnosis with Resounding Strength

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In 1968, Rachelle Ledbetter was the first child to be diagnosed with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), a chronic condition characterized by an exaggerated response of the immune system to the fungus Aspergillus. By adulthood, her hypersensitivity to environmental allergens had developed into a secondary infection that would necessitate a double lung transplant.

Rachelle is the former owner of the Sequoia Sentinel weekly newspaper. Out of respect for her editorial legacy, the Kawaeah Commonwealth, a more recent incarnation of the Sentinel, published in-depth coverage of Rachelle’s medical journey, her “upbeat and positive” outlook, and her plans for a community-driven Help Hope Live fundraiser.

We learned in March that the Spaghetti Feed raised a whopping $8,880 for the Help Hope Live Southwest Lung Transplant Fund in honor of Rachelle. “Apparently, the food ran out after serving 300 meals,” Rachelle wrote in an update on her Help Hope Live campaign page, “and yet you kept coming!” (Rachelle’s Lifetime ‘Journey to New Lungs’)

Michael Thor: Returning Home and Rekindling Hope After a Life-Changing Injury

Michael Thor Help Hope Live

Michael Thor with his wife and caregiver

In November 2015, Michael Thor was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle. He sustained a C2 spinal cord injury. At the time, he was in the process of pursuing one of his lifelong dreams: opening a restaurant with a good friend. The accident put Michael’s restaurant plans and the rest of his passions on hold as he and his family adjusted to his new life with quadriplegia.

After a year and a half of out-of-state intensive therapy, and just a few months after its grand opening, Michael was finally able to return home to see his restaurant in action. Tears filled his eyes as he witnessed how his business partner and staff members had come together to turn their shared vision into reality. “I could not be more proud,” said Michael.

A fundraiser held at Michael’s restaurant kicked off fundraising efforts for the Help Hope Live Southeast Spinal Cord Injury Fund to support ongoing rehabilitation. “I can tell that Mike has been rejuvenated,” wife and caregiver, Sarah, said in an update. “It was a really big morale boost for him to get back home. We were able to raise around $6,000. We truly can’t thank you enough.” (Restaurant Holds Fundraiser for Paralyzed Raleigh Chef)

Kimberly Grossman: Feeling “Blessed” as Faith Community Steps Up to Help

Kimberly Grossman Help Hope Live

Kimberly Grossman with her twins

Though she’s fighting chronic kidney disease, Kimberly Grossman considers herself blessed. Kimberly was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in her twenties based on symptoms that had been following her around since she was just three months old. Kimberly’s strong connection to a faith-based community in her area provided the starting point for her fundraising campaign.

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Help Hope Live South-Central Kidney Transplant Fund became an emotional lifeline as Kimberly met with friends and neighbors who showed that they cared about her. She and her 5-year-old twins are lifetime church members. “We wanted to do what Jesus tells us to do and help as much as we could,” explained Kimberly’s pastor.

Kimberly “fought back tears” as she reflected on her gratitude for community support. She advised others facing a transplant to “find as many ways as possible to fundraise. There are lots of people wanting to help.” (Spaghetti Dinner Fundraising for Woman in Need of Kidney Transplant)

Want your campaign to get featured in the news, too? Reach out to your Fundraising Coordinator today to receive media outreach support. 

Gamers, Rejoice! New Science Says Video Games Improve Wellness

In 2015, a group of gamers played The Legend of Zelda for 150 hours straight to raise money for our nonprofit. Their efforts made a significant impact in the lives of our clients and their families. While Zeldathon Hope was raising over $250,000 for charity, the marathon was also raising an interesting question: are video games inherently damaging to health and wellness?

Pokemon GO

Are video games helpful or harmful to our health?

Though some interactive games like Pokémon GO may be an exception, don’t video games basically require participants to be sedentary and isolated? As reporter Martha Clement Rochford put it, “The good news for gamers is that science disagrees.” Here are 5 ways that video games can promote physical and psychological wellbeing based on recent scientific research.

Video Games Enhance Our Reaction Times And Precision

Researchers at the University of Rochester recently concluded that playing an action-based video game daily “has a beneficial effect” on players’ brains. Engaging in a stimulating gaming experience for 30 to 40 minutes per day can improve eyesight, reaction times, mental rotation capacity and the player’s ability to move efficiently from one task to the next. Researchers concluded that if games released in the future are planned and developed specifically for people with chronic conditions, they “can help patients with chronic illness, anxiety and pain management” by encouraging healthy cognitive development and greater physical strength and dexterity.

Call of Duty

Action games “generated a moderate helpful effect on the overall cognition”

Other recent studies have corroborated those claims, finding that “action games generated a moderate helpful effect on the overall cognition.” Action games like Call of Duty help to develop “fast and precise responses” and “may produce structural changes in the brain“ by encouraging greater neural plasticity, particularly in young adults whose brains are still developing. Greater neural plasticity means an enhanced ability to learn and remember new information, adapt to change or react quickly to new circumstances and challenges.

Video Games Help Us Study And Fight Cognitive Decline

A trial in the United Kingdom is studying how Parkinson’s disease impacts cognition. The twist? Researchers will be using “a scientifically-designed video game as a non-invasive medical device.” The game will be specialized based on each participant’s unique mental processing and memory storage challenges and will offer “holistic training” to improve memory, processing speed, function and attention.

Link Zelda

New games could be used “as a non-invasive medical device” for cognitive training

For now, the initiative will focus exclusively on testing the potential for video games to improve life for people living with Parkinson’s disease, but the results could influence how medical professionals assess and treat multiple cognitive conditions, including traumatic brain injuries, PTSD and “cognitive deficit caused by cancer.”

Video Games Can Be A Physical Rehabilitation Tool

“When I was at Rusk Rehab at NYU Langone,” explains HelpHOPELive client Nicole Seefeldt, “I saw the hospital-based rehab center using Wii Fit and Wii Sport to rehab certain skills in their patients at all age groups. It inspired me to get one because I saw that patients were not only enjoying it but receiving benefits from it.


Nicole saw Wii games used as tools for hospital-based rehabilitation

Nicole also believes apps can help encourage people to engage with physical therapy and get in touch with their health in a way that “is a lot more dynamic than just sitting in a chair with weights. Several systems also have brain games which are good to play for cognitive development, too.”

Video Games Have Meaningful Psychological Benefits  

Gaming doesn’t just physically alter and improve your cognitive capacity. According to studies on the psychology of gaming, “gamers can address their fundamental psychological needs through playing games.” As cyberpsychologist Berni Good concluded, gaming can help players to feel competent as they master each level and challenge, which improves their psychological wellbeing. Whether through a multiplayer online game, couch co-op or a little social media gloating, gaming can also help players to “relate to others in a meaningful way” as they collaborate on game challenges and share their experiences with others.

Zelda coop

Personal achievements and co-op play can improve psychological wellbeing

Don’t think these results only apply to massive multiplayer action wars or shoot-‘em-up thrillers. Gaming can also tap into “the idea that we need to be masters of our own destiny,” encouraging players to feel like they are making independent choices that are reflected in real-time changes to the game environment or questlines.


Moffit (center) believes gaming for good can lead to emotional fulfillment

Combine video games with good deeds, like the Zeldathon Hope team, and you have a recipe for social and emotional fulfillment. “We’re creating something more than just a marathon,” explained Zeldathon founder Matthew Moffit. “We’re a real community, dedicated to forces of good. We like to think that we’re working to defeat the evils of the world through our marathon.”

Video Games Help Us Track And Treat Chronic Symptoms

Microsoft Research in Cambridge is tapping into the Xbox Kinect tactile gaming platform to support people living with multiple sclerosis. The console’s motion sensor system will be integral to new research on the effectiveness of MS treatments and the progression of symptoms. Through Kinect-compatible tests, people with MS will be asked to move or touch certain parts of their body and researchers will use a rating scale to track the strength of MS symptoms that affect mobility.


The Xbox Kinect has been used to track MS symptoms

A recent study found that cognitive training video games developed by neuroscientists could help people with MS to strengthen their neural connections to promote cognitive wellness. MS can impact the thalamus in the center of the brain, leading to the cognitive dysfunction or “brain fog” experience in people living with the condition.

Study participants “had significant increases in thalamic functional connectivity” after participating. One researcher concluded that “video games can promote brain plasticity and can aid in cognitive rehabilitation” for people experiencing cognitive dysfunction due to MS or other brain-disrupting chronic conditions. Researchers hope to use their findings to add to existing rehabilitation pathways for people with MS.

A Bright Future For Gaming-Based Research And Treatment 

Video game platforms and interfaces continue to evolve year after year, and researchers are chomping at the bit to assess their health and wellness applications. In fact, though virtual reality has just barely reached the consumer market, it is already being used to test and diagnose individuals with cognition and memory challenges. It’s good news across the board for gamers, who now have a tangible way to defend their digital obsessions with legitimate scientific research.

virtual reality gaming

Virtual reality is already being used to diagnose some cognition issues

Think these findings supersede the need for balance and moderation in gaming? “When we think about the effect of video games on the brain, it’s very similar to the effect of wine on health,” explained Dr. Daphne Bavelier in a TED Talk. “There are some very poor uses of wine. There are some very poor uses of video games.” But, as new research proves, “when consumed in reasonable doses,” video games can be a beneficial tool for managing symptoms, improving cognition and building positive psychological foundations.

Are you a gamer living with a chronic condition or disability? We’d love to hear about your experiences with gaming and wellness on Facebook.

5 Major Transplant Headlines You Missed

Here are some of the milestones and newsbreaks that have touched transplant families since this time last year.

5. Scientists 3D Print Human Body Parts

After a decade of research, scientists managed to engineer functional human body parts including bones, muscles and ears.

Lab grown organ

Will lab-grown organs replace donor organs? Photo via source.

Quote: “This technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation.”

Click for more

4. Total Artificial Heart Could Eliminate Transplants

After a 60-year break, the total artificial heart (TAH) is being revisited as a potential permanent implant that would eliminate the need for heart transplants.

Total Artificial Heart

Diagram of a Total Artificial Heart. Image via UCLA.

Quote: “There are people that are desperate for this technology…I think it has the potential to save a lot of people’s lives”

Click for more

3. Ending The Waiting List…In Our Time?

In addition to lab-grown organs, bioprinting and cold storage could dramatically improve circumstances for transplant candidates on the waiting list.


Will bioprinting and cold storage end the waiting list? Image via source.

Quote: “We can expect the first fully engineered bioidentical no-immune-suppression-needed organ transplant in humans within 10 years.”

Click for more

2. Have Money, Will Transplant

A study indicates that wealthy people are more likely to secure a transplant and less likely to die while waiting for one.

Money organ transplant

Can money get you on a shorter waiting list? Image via source.

Quote: “It takes money and knowledge…traveling can make a huge difference in how quickly you get an organ.”

Click for more

1. Incompatible Donors Can Donate A Kidney

Donors may now be able to give a kidney to an incompatible recipient through a process called desensitization.

incompatible donors

Incompatible kidney donation is now possible. Image via source.

Quote: “Desensitization…can cost about $30,000 [but] dialysis would rack up a higher price tag and a considerably lower quality of life.”

Click for more

Did a health headline touch your family this year? Reach out to us on Facebook and share the stories that moved you.

HelpHOPELive Clients In The News March 2016

Spring is a season of hope, renewal and rebirth. For these three clients, spring represents a chance to enjoy a healthier, happier future with help from community fundraising.

Scott Truran: Veteran Sets Sights On Treatment For Debilitating MS

Thirty-nine-year-old Scott Truran was diagnosed with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis in 2011. Before the diagnosis, the former Marine was very active and prioritized staying in shape. Today, he has to rely on a cane to walk and his right side feels like it’s been “dipped in concrete,” he explained.

Scott Truran HelpHOPELive veteran MS

Scott will continue to lose mobility as his MS progresses

Scott will continue to lose mobility as his MS progresses. It’s likely he will eventually need a wheelchair to get around. Scott and his family learned about a treatment option for MS that may help to limit Scott’s mobility losses. The treatment involves wiping out his immune system with low-dose chemotherapy, then using stem cells, previously harvested from his blood, to rebuild a new immune system. This treatment option is only available as a clinical trial in the United States. Scott and his family will need to raise $80,000 to receive the treatment in Mexico as well as additional funds to offset the out-of-pocket costs of travel and temporary relocation for Scott and a caregiver.

Scott Truran HelpHOPELive veteran MS

Scott is appealing to his community for support for his treatment goals

“The money is the biggest obstacle,” Scott explained, “but it’s a small price to pay for a chance to slow [the] disease or stop it entirely.” Scott will fundraise with HelpHOPELive to maximize his chances of securing the funds he needs to potentially halt or reverse the progression of his MS. (Veteran’s family asking for help with progressive form of multiple sclerosis)

Theo St. Francis: Young Man With Spinal Cord Injury Plans “His Comeback”

In 2013 while taking part in a pre-orientation at MIT, Theo broke his C6 vertebra in a diving accident. Theo became paralyzed from the chest down with some shoulder and arm movement and limited finger dexterity. Doctors told Theo he would likely never walk again.

Theo St. Francis HelpHOPELive

“I am done managing. I am overcoming.”

As the Sonoma Index-Tribune reported, Theo “set his brilliant mind toward devising a plan for his comeback.” In December 2015, Theo reached a major milestone when he was able to sit on a barstool during a celebration with friends. He tries to spend time away from his manual wheelchair, pursuing activities that “align with what my goals are,” from driving an adaptive car to biking, skiing, surfing, kayaking and traveling.

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Fundraising with HelpHOPELive is allowing Theo to pursue the intensive spinal cord injury therapies he credits with helping him improve his mobility over time. Theo emphasizes the word “recovery” and spends his days looking forward. “I put the impossible in quotes,” he explained. “I am done managing. I am overcoming.” (Theo St. Francis overcoming odds to regain mobility)

Michael Mahan: Community Supports Man Facing Intestine Transplant

In 2012, what Michael Mahan and his family believed to be an upset stomach turned out to be a dangerously twisted small intestine. Since doctors removed the failing organ, every 6-8 weeks, Michael ends up back in the hospital with septic blood. With no small intestine to help his body process food, the husband and father of three relies entirely on intravenous nutrition as he waits for an intestine transplant.

Michael’s priority today is raising funds to cover the out-of-pocket expenses associated with an intestine transplant and follow-up care. He may need to spend up to 10 months in a transplant center after the procedure, and the cost must be paid up front before he can be put on the transplant waiting list.

Michael Mahan HelpHOPELive

Michael is a husband and father of three

Fundraising with HelpHOPELive is helping Michael to secure the funds he needs to get the transplant, but it’s also connecting his family with their supportive community. “We’re just so excited to do everything we can to help him out,” said local resident Jon Rosenlund. “He is a wonderful man and a great father. It’s an honor to help him, but we need a lot of help.” (Fundraiser to benefit man awaiting intestinal transplant)

Get your campaign in the news! If you need help with press releases and media outreach, contact your HelpHOPELive Fundraising Coordinator today.

HelpHOPELive Interview with Zeldathon Founder Matthew Moffit

On December 27, a group of gamers kicked off a “The Legend of Zelda” marathon in which they would play for 150 consecutive hours to raise money for HelpHOPELive. The Zeldathon fundraiser, named Zeldathon Hope, is broadcast live to an audience of thousands on Twitch, the world’s leading video game streaming platform. By Day 3, Zeldathon Hope had raised over $100,000 for HelpHOPELive. Here’s our interview with the director of Zeldathon, Matthew Moffit.

Matthew Moffit, or SuperMCGamer, is the co-founder of Zeldathon.

Where did the idea for Zeldathon come from?

Back in 2009 when I was in high school, I told my friend Zach about a group that was playing video games for charity. We made plans to start our own charity gaming marathon over winter break. We faced overheating laptops and were short-staffedas we tried to broadcast the full 24 hours ourselves. We had a full 4-hour period where the game was idle when we both drifted off. Turns out you need more than two people to run a 24-hour charity marathon – who knew!

We raised a total of $301 from our first marathon. A friend of ours convinced us that hosting another Zeldathon would be a perfect senior project. We got a few more friends to support us this time, bringing the total up to 11 participants. The second Zeldathon raised 11 times more than that first event. For our fifteenth Zeldathon overall, we looked at Charity Navigator’s highest-rated charities. We pursued HelpHOPELive because we wanted to work with a charity that could make a direct impact through donations.

Why Zelda?

To me, Zelda is just a good game series. It’s all about a hero saving the world and defeating evil. We like to think that we’re working to defeat the evils of the world through our marathon. Zelda is also appropriate for all audiences, which is a plus. We plan to stick to Zelda for our central marathon but add additional games like Mario for smaller marathons.

Zelda, Zeldathon, Zeldathons, Zeldathon Hope, HelpHOPELive

Why Zelda? The answer is deeper than you think.

Is orchestrating Zeldathon your full-time job?

At the moment, I’m a jack of all trades online. YouTube and livestreaming are my biggest sources of income. I was well-known as a Minecraft player for a while, and that produced a fairly substantial income. But you get tired of playing the same game!

Small tips from fans help me pay my bills, which enables me to keep working to make Zeldathon bigger and better. Zeldathons are always 100% for charity and proceeds go directly to the charity without me or anyone else taking a cut, but Zeldathon-branded merchandise and similar projects could help make Zeldathon management a viable full-time career in the future.

Donation Station, Zeldathon Hope, HelpHOPELive

“First and foremost, we want to do good.”

We want to do good in the world. If you start to skew off of that central mission – Zelda fans raising money for charity – it becomes less effective and harder to communicate our mission to an audience. First and foremost, we want to do good.

What’s the most challenging part of planning a Zeldathon?

I like to work independently, and it’s hard for me to delegate projects. This marathon has featured more people involved working on different projects than ever before–musicians, artists, developers, web developers–at this point, even when I’m not working on Zeldathon (on that rare occasion), someone else is! I get scared when things are out of my hands, even when other people have different skills that are necessary. The most challenging thing is keeping my cool while keeping tabs on these delegated projects.

Skyward Scott, Zeldathon, HelpHOPELive, Zeldathon Hope

“This marathon has featured more people involved…than ever before.”

Another challenge is that a lot of our success depends on word-of-mouth. We aim to raise $1,000 per hour. If you can’t donate, spread the word to the people who can. Tell 10 people, and if three donate and six spread the word again, we’re already building a huge network of people who may be able to participate and donate.

What keeps you going when the process gets difficult?

For me, it’s about the spirit of these events. It’s amazing that we are all able to come together to do this in the name of a good cause. There are hardcore fans whose dream is just to make it to one Zeldathon in person someday. We’re creating something more than just a marathon – it’s a real community, dedicated to forces of good.

HelpHOPELive, Zeldathon, Zeldathon Hope

“For me, it’s about the spirit of these events.”

Why do you think people are so willing to get involved?

It all starts with gaming and the strength of that community. When we livestream, just the fact that we’re playing Legend of Zelda is enough to get some fans hooked. Many played the game as a kid, so it’s nostalgic. Then they look at us sitting on the couch and ask, who are these people? Well, they’re certainly charming and entertaining, and they’re willing to do wacky things for charity. You can even read the players’ online profiles and really get to know them. It’s amazing!

I am really proud of everyone who has worked on Zeldathon with me. I always say the last marathon is my favorite of all time, but I am fully dedicated to the idea that Zeldathon Hope WILL be our best event yet.

Is planning and participating in Zeldathons emotionally rewarding?

The entire process is emotional and motivational. On the setup day, we usually have Zelda music playing – orchestral, strings, brass, woodwinds. In the hotel ballroom, you’re hooking up cords and your friends start walking in across the room. It’s 50 of your best friends all in one place, preparing to do something great.

Last marathon, during the Zeldathon Deluxe grand finale, we were handing out awards and at the end we suddenly realized that we had 30 minutes left to cover. We asked for someone from the audience to volunteer to give a speech. One person shyly offered to give their speech, and then one by one, everyone wanted to give their own speech. The speeches got more and more emotional over time, with people telling us how Zeldathon has changed their lives. We’re a Zeldathon family more than anything else, and that in itself is rewarding and emotional.

Zeldathon Hope family

“We’re a Zeldathon family more than anything else.”

Aside from watching live on Twitch, how can readers support the cause and get involved?

Check out our website or find us on Facebook or on Twitter for news and information.

Zeldathon Hope continues until January 2 live on Twitch. Tune in with us!