By John Juettner
Video games are no longer just entertainment for kids. Today they benefit the patients of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
In the modern world of gaming, massive sports arenas fill with spectators who watch professionals play video games competitively. Internet-streamed broadcast channels, where people watch and interact with gamers as they play, are viewed by millions. The business outpaces the music industry by $20 billion annually.
The gamers who earn a living playing these games are using their popularity to give back through St. Jude PLAY LIVE. Created two years ago, this video game charity event has raised more than $1.5 million for the hospital.
“I believe that if we are fortunate enough to capture the attention of other people, we should use that time to make a positive impact on their lives as well as on other people,” says Ben Moody, a Twitch broadcaster known as DizzyDizaster.
Broadcasters like Moody fundraise during dedicated charity streams when they ask viewers for donations to St. Jude. Often they include incentives to increase fundraising, such as broadcasting themselves playing video games while dressed as one of the game’s characters.
“I run my live streams under the assumption that people are coming in to get away from the stress of their lives and are looking for an escape,” says Moody, who has raised more than $17,000 for St. Jude. “What better way to help people feel better than to use our awesome time together to benefit kids in need?”
St. Jude PLAY LIVE isn’t just for the professionals. Anyone can play—either online or off—to raise funds and earn prizes and student service hours.
Moody visited St. Jude before the 2015 St. Jude PLAY LIVE event. Afterward, he described the experience to his viewers, who communicated with him through a chat feature.
“During the fundraiser, I even had several chat members tell me stories about their own children who were positively impacted by St. Jude,” Moody says. “When I saw what a profound impact St. Jude was having, and how many incredible streamers were already on board, I knew this was the way for us to go.”
To learn more about or participate in St. Jude PLAY LIVE, visit playlive.stjude.org.