Extra Life Interview with Rich Early

Extra Life is currently underway! There are all sorts of ways to participate in this 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. Rich Early of Paradox Comics-n-Cards tells you about his event in this blog!

When did you starting working with Extra Life?

Paradox got involved in 2011. The first year we discovered the event, we only had about 2 weeks to pull it together but it was a whirlwind and a lot of fun and became a mainstay. Since then, this whole community has raised $125K+ for Children’s Miracle Network and we’re out to go over $150K this year.

What makes Extra Life special to you?

This event stands out for a few reasons: It’s like a walk-a-thon or other event most of us remember. But in place of that, it’s playing games. The idea to devote 24 hours to a cause and raise money to do it is inspiring and combines our love of gaming with our belief in doing good.
But on top of that, 100% of the funds go local. Our efforts not only get results, but they get results right here. Sanford Children’s Hospital serves all of ND and a lot of Western MN. The money raised has provided everything from critical care equipment to invaluable child life specialists to Xboxes. The least we’ve done is help change the experience of kids and families in need and the most is actually save lives.

Tell me about the gaming marathon.

Extra Life is an event anyone can run on their own. The goal at Paradox Comics is to raise awareness for the event and to give people a place where they feel connected to it, a part of something bigger than them. That’s what Extra Life is. All of us working together to give to a greater cause. At our event, we provide food and giveaways and we have challenges for fundraising the day of the event. Everyone who comes can use our donation jars to pay to “cheat” while playing games and win a pizza party, as an example. We start at 8 AM on Saturday November 3rd and will go for 25 hours until the next morning. We have a closing ceremony for everyone who makes it. We’ve got a special barbecue fundraiser as well this year. We’ve got at least 10 teams coming to the shop for this year’s event. As many as 200 gamers have participated some years. If you don’t marathon here, marathon somewhere. We have people who started out at our shop now running their own events at home. Oh, and we are the board gamers. Extra life started as a video game event and we are now seeing that pop up all over Fargo-Moorhead and North Dakota. Jamestown has an E-Sports team that got involved this year, as an example. Section 9 runs an event every year. It’s growing all the time.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

If people want to participate, it’s easy.
They can stop by Paradox on Saturday. We’ve got silent auctions, they can make a donation, or they can join the marathon and we’ll find games for them to play.
If they want to get involved themselves and do their own event and their own fundraising, it takes just a few minutes. The website www.extra-life.org does all the work. Set up an account there, form a team if you want, and all donations can be made directly through that site. You get all the tools you need from pre written messages you can post on Facebook with the link. Email your friends, text them.
At Paradox this year, we created workplace donation boxes you can take with you and tell your co workers. We’ve got silent auctions going on. So there are all kinds of ways for everyone to get involved.
Lastly, I’d just like to add the personal pitch. When i was a kid, i was the one in that hospital bed. That was over 40 years ago. We are all seeing new fundraisers, new causes, new things to get our attention and time and our empathy and our hearts. It never ends. And a lot of us have done Extra life over and over. But the reason it’s so important is that there is always another child in need. Every day. There is always another family whose life just got turned upside down out of nowhere. And we need to have a place for them, a network for them, and critical equipment for them. They are our friends and neighbors and at any moment they could just as easily be us. I have met so many people who say that Sanford has saved their families and said that you don’t need it until you need it and you don’t know until then what it means. For those reasons and more, this cause is at the heart of what i do as a business owner and a member of a family. I encourage everyone who reads this to take a moment of time and donate or take more of their time and join the cause. Anyone with questions can contact me at any time.

To find out more about Extra Life, go to www.extra-life.org.

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