National Honor Society Extra Life event garners donations


Nikol Slatinska

Most fundraisers include something along the lines of bake sales, raffles or fun game nights, but senior Joshua Whittom used a more creative approach when it came to raising money for the Extra Life organization, a charity foundation that hosts worldwide online gaming marathons to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. He and senior Danny Bottorff hosted an event that took place from March 31 to April 1, during which they did their own marathon.
Those who came paid to see Whittom and Bottorff complete various challenges, such as playing Mario Kart blindfolded. They also livestreamed the event, and attendees could pay to choose which games the hosts played. Whittom has been wanting to try this form of fundraising ever  since he saw it on some of the YouTube channels he watches, and the organization helped after he presented the idea to the National Honor Society (NHS).
Extra Life works with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to enable 24-hour gaming marathons like the one I hosted to raise money for the hospitals,” Whittom said. ”For some statistics on Extra Life as an organization, in 2014 alone they had more than 50,000 participants that raised a collective total of more than $6 million.”
When senior Javan Whitney-Warner heard about the event, she decided to sign up for a shift and help with the livestream.
“Danny and Joshua were there for the full 24 hours, and I was the only outside member that signed up,” said Whitney-Warner, whose favorite part of the night was that it felt more like small gathering among friends. “I actually ended up staying an hour later past my two hour shift, I was enjoying it so much. There was no one else coming to take my place that point in the night.”
Whittom’s goal was to raise $250 for the MU Children’s Hospital while simultaneously having fun playing video games and hanging out with friends. He ultimately met his goal, raising more than $355. Bottorff said he would be willing to take part in the event again after seeing how much money it raised. On the participation scale, however, nobody from the NHS except for Bottorff and himself signed up, but the amount of money raised combined with the fact that very few technical issues arose caused Whittom to view the event as a success. Bottorff also viewed it as a bonding experience.
“I would say playing video games [was my favorite part], but even that became difficult at times.  Doing anything for 24 hours can get old, even if it’s one of your favorite hobbies,” Bottorff said. “However, the chance to work together and hang out with Joshua was something I particularly enjoyed. I felt that the sense of teamwork had a major impact.  We were pretty good friends beforehand, but I think we’re much closer now.”