Tag Archives: gaming

Why I Play Video Games for Charity

In July, the video gaming community came together once again for a good cause by livestreaming for hours straight to raise money for HelpHOPELive. The organization For Cairne Sake engages in monthly livestreaming events, selecting a new nonprofit cause for each mini-marathon.

Joshua Dunn, Farronox to his fans, is the organization’s Lead Project Coordinator. We asked him about gaming for a good cause and building a community of compassion for charity.

Farronox For Cairne Sake

Farronox is the Lead Project Coordinator for the charity livestreaming group For Cairne Sake


What was your first interaction with charity fundraising?


The first charity marathon I viewed was the Minecraft Marathon by the Qubetubers to benefit the nonprofit Child’s Play. I happened to tune in just as streamer Syntria said, “This is going so well, we’ll have to extend it through to tomorrow!” After that, I found the Mario Marathon, and those were the discoveries that set me on my path.


Why did charity streaming appeal to you?


What inspired me was the passion. Passion for gaming, first of all, since gaming is a pastime I love and spent most of my time on as a child. My passion for gaming turned into a passion for compassion. I knew I would be able to spend time I was already spending to empower others to do good things. It was my way of being sure I would leave a mark on the world.

For Cairne Sake HelpHOPELive

For Cairne Sake pledges to raise awareness as well as funds for nonprofits.

My favorite thing about streaming for charity is the community it builds. The connection between gamers who love these causes and support them is full of compassion, and that shared compassion makes great things happen.


Why don’t you stream for personal financial gain?


Streaming for charity carries a twofold gain. It multiplies the good you can do personally by drawing in others to achieve something greater together. It also builds a community of compassion that, if nurtured, can grow to encompass even greater things, far more than anyone can do alone. Streaming for charity can also help unlock financial stability if you use it to build your reputation and influence.

For Cairne Sake HelpHOPELive

For Cairne Sake streamers work together to complete lengthy gaming marathons for charity.


How do you choose which causes to support?


I think that everyone is naturally inspired to support causes they are affected by personally. There’s a heartfelt connection that each community of like-minded individuals shares that makes people in those communities want to help each other. That’s why For Cairne Sake makes the effort to allow for a majority vote when choosing our monthly supported charity. By choosing through majority vote, we allow our team to express their passion for the cause that they hold dear while allowing us to support a varied range of nonprofit organizations.


Are you glad you chose HelpHOPELive?


So glad! This past event has become one of my favorites. Having a contact from the charity working so closely with us, tuning in, and actively engaging with us was hugely energizing. My favorite part of the marathon was during streamer Spiritonfire’s Chrono Trigger stream. We were able to discuss some of the important issues facing the people who work with HelpHOPELive and clear up misconceptions about transplantation and living donation. So many great things were discussed, including the day-to-day realities involved in the cause we were fundraising for. We were careful to make sure that the game got a decent amount of attention as well!

For Cairne Sake HelpHOPELive

Farronox calls the HelpHOPELive For Cairne Sake event “one of my favorites.”


Do you think it’s important for streamers to remember that they can raise funds AND awareness?


Absolutely! It’s easy to get bogged down by whether or not your event is a fundraising success. Over the years, I’ve taught myself that anything done for charity is good and “enough.” It’s still hard to remember that at times. But it is during those times when donations are low or non-existent that you have to remember that even if you don’t raise anything, you still talked about the charity’s mission, educated yourself about something new, and had the opportunity to teach others.

We never know what will happen after an event. Who’s to say that one of the viewers engaged in our past marathon isn’t going to donate to HelpHOPELive at a later time? What matters is that they saw a passionate gamer talk about a cause that means something to them.


Can you give some tips to someone who wants to get involved in charity streaming?


Make the charity the priority. Be sure to talk about the cause enthusiastically and often. Try to educate as many viewers as you can about what you’re doing and why you’re there.

Interact with the chat. Answer questions, respond to comments and engage with those who come to watch. Call out lurkers (viewers who don’t say anything) because they are as important as the people who do interact. Inviting them to be involved is often enough.

Communicate why your event exists. This goes beyond the chat or info about the nonprofit. Make sure information about the event is visible wherever it can be viewed. Why your stream exists is the first thing people should see, whether on your Twitch page, visually displayed on the stream layout or on your website. If people don’t know why you’re streaming right away, they may not stick around long enough to find out.

The hardest part is drawing in viewers. It requires dedication and a lot of effort, but the effort is rewarded: with more communication and interaction comes more viewers, more donations and more people looking to do the same great things for a good cause.


Where would you like to see For Cairne Sake go in the future?


I would love to see For Cairne Sake become an organization that can stream for charity more regularly and for longer periods at a time. It would be nice to have a large team capable of managing a 24-hour schedule so we can raise for our Charity of the Month every day of the week rather than just two days out of the month.

For Cairne Sake HelpHOPELive

Farronox believes raising awareness is as important as raising funds for a charitable cause.

The end goal is to reach that point and also be able to confidently turn For Cairne Sake into a registered nonprofit, enabling us to do much more to directly support causes around the world.


What does HOPE mean to you?


Hope means finding your away when you are lost. It means the possibility of survival when all paths have grown dark and you think there’s no chance.


Thanks for taking the time to speak with us!


I look forward to our next HelpHOPELive event!


You can connect with For Cairne Sake on charitylivestream.com and on Twitter @ForCairneSake

6 People Who Inspire Us With Courage, Strength and Selflessness

Our signature fundraising gala Live It Up! kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 23, 2016 with a VIP reception for our generous sponsors and this year’s Live It Up! Awardees. Doors for the main event open at 7 p.m. Get your tickets today!

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Each year we honor individuals who have impacted our organization and their communities with their bravery, selflessness and strength with our annual Help, HOPE and Live Awards.


This year’s Help Award goes to…The Zeldathon Team for excellence in fundraising.


In December 2015, a group of avid video game players and live streamers joined forces for a 150-hour “The Legend of Zelda” gaming marathon. Streaming their activities live, the gamers collected donations for HelpHOPELive throughout the course of the marathon. Gamers encouraged donations from viewers at home by initiating “donation trains” and incentives, turning watching gameplay into an interactive and collaborative philanthropic experience.

Zeldathon Hope raised over $250,000 for HelpHOPELive through the generosity of contributors in over 40 countries. The funds raised were used to meaningfully contribute to HelpHOPELive’s mission to support community-based fundraising support for people with unmet medical and related expenses due to cell and organ transplants or catastrophic injuries and illnesses and to provide one-time emergency assistance grants for families facing an immediate financial need due to a medical crisis.

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“We pursued HelpHOPELive because we wanted to work with a charity that could make a direct impact through donations,” explained Zeldathon executive director Matthew Moffit. “We’re creating something more than just a marathon – it’s a real community, dedicated to the forces of good.”

Moffit, Zeldathon assistant director Liz and spokesperson Brooke are among the dedicated gamers who devoted their personal time to planning, managing and streaming the nonstop gaming marathon. They hope to support HelpHOPELive’s mission again during a future Zeldathon.


The HOPE Award goes to…Maria Weaver-Hollowniczky and Elizabeth Casperite for living donation and organ donor awareness.


Liz Casperite was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in 2005. Her kidneys grew from fist-sized to football-sized. She joined the transplant waiting list in 2013, facing an average wait time of 4 or 5 years.

Liz and her family initiated a social media push to help Liz cut her wait short by finding a living kidney donor. Maria Weaver-Hollowniczky, a friend of a friend, saw Liz’s social media efforts and felt moved to step forward as a potential living donor.

Liz received the gift of life from Maria on September 17, 2015. Liz and Maria became inseparable during transplant preparations and have stood by each other ever since, partnering to share their story and lobby Congress in support of living donor protection legislation. They attended the 2016 Transplant Games in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Fundraising with HelpHOPELive will be an ongoing effort for Liz, who still faces post-transplant medical expenses from co-pays and travel for follow-up appointments to a lifetime of expensive antirejection medications. Liz must maintain Medicare A and B coverage until 2018 to financially protect Maria in case of post-transplant complications—something they hope to change for future living donors through their advocacy of the Living Donor Protection Act.


The Live Award goes to…John Michael LeMoine for inspiration after injury.


In July 2014, John Michael LeMoine was an Air Force airman enrolled in a firefighting technical school. On a day off, John was goofing around on the beach with his buddies. To avoid hitting a child playing on the beach, John jumped into the air to try to flip over him. He kept the child safe but shattered his cervical spine in the process.

It took six weeks of intensive therapy before John could wiggle his big toe.

John devoted himself to exercise-based therapy. Once insurance stopped covering his physical therapy, he turned to HelpHOPELive to fundraise for a lifetime of out-of-pocket medical and related expenses. In March 2015, John was able to stand independently for the first time since his injury.

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John and his mother, Lori, document his progress and his post-injury adventures, including skydiving, off-roading and adaptive sports with support from the Air Force Wounded Warrior program. “He can now make a sandwich,” Lori wrote in February 2016. “It seems so simple, but this was an impossible task before. These small achievements give him his independence back.” John embodies what it takes to build an engaged, motivated and multi-faceted new life after injury.


This year’s awardees will be honored at Valley Forge Military Academy’s Mellon Hall on September 23 from 7 to 11 p.m. among HelpHOPELive’s generous local supporters, board, staff and friends. Join us to celebrate the incredible milestones clients, volunteers and donors achieved in 2016!

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.

Wii

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.

Zeldathon

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.

kinect

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.

Zeldathon Hope: How The $250,000 Raised For HelpHOPELive Will Change Lives

Gamers of the world, unite! Between December 27 and January 2, Zeldathon Hope raised $250,000 for HelpHOPELive, converting altruism and gaming prowess into tangible results. Gamers played The Legend of Zelda for 150 consecutive hours in front of a live audience via Twitch to bring this charitable marathon to its dazzling conclusion. Don’t miss our pictures and videos from the event!

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Here, we highlight one piece of the impact of the funds raised through Zeldathon Hope: the donations we received from generous contributors in over 40 countries will help to provide one-time emergency assistance grants for families with an immediate financial need.


Your Donation Supports Emergency Grants That Change Lives


Your donation to HelpHOPELive during Zeldathon Hope will help provide meaningful and direct relief to families in the midst of a medical crisis through the HelpHOPELive Emergency Grant Program. Here are three stories that show just how important our emergency assistance grants can be for patients and families who are unable to fundraise to meet their uninsured needs.


Lucas

When he was 7 months old, baby Lucas received a liver transplant. Dealing with a financially and emotionally stressful time, both of Lucas’s parents were forced to take unpaid leave in order to care for him in the hospital during his transplant. Thanks to a HelpHOPELive Emergency Grant, Lucas’s parents were able to cover a month of rent so they did not get evicted while supporting Lucas during the lifesaving procedure.


Brandon

Brandon was paralyzed in a car accident as a teenager. Once he was able to return home, Brandon found that he could not enter his own bathroom because the doorway was too narrow for his wheelchair. He began to rely on the family’s laundry room for his daily hygiene needs. A HelpHOPELive Emergency Grant enabled his family to widen the doorway and lower the bathroom sink to help preserve independence and personal dignity.


Judy

In 2015, Judy received a lung transplant. When she was finally able to return home, Judy noticed that she was still having severe difficulty breathing. She found black mold in her house that had spread so extensively, it put her new lungs in jeopardy. An emergency grant from HelpHOPELive will allow Judy to get the mold removed so she can live a healthy life with her new lungs in her own home.


James

James needed radiation and two bone marrow transplants to fight cancer. While the treatment he received helped him to combat the disease, the radiation also severely deteriorated his teeth. With help from a HelpHOPELive Emergency Grant, James was able to get a set of dentures so the lifesaving treatment wouldn’t create a painful lifelong burden.


You Can Keep Supporting Hope!


While Zeldathon Hope had a tremendous impact, we still need your help to keep supporting families across the country! Find out how you can keep hope alive.