October 23, 2015

Support Children’s Hospitals with Extra Life and Heroic Inner Kids

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Written by: Kristin
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Founded in 2008 to support a special young girl named Tori, Extra Life has expanded to support the full Children’s Miracle Network of hospitals around the country. While some people run marathons to raise money for charity, many of us aren’t able to put in the kind of training that would require. Extra Life is an excellent alternative. In the same vein as charity races, Extra Life lets gamers raise money to support children’s hospitals across the country. Every participant has a donation page, and can then participate in any way they choose – by attending a group event, or from the comfort of their own home.

This year, a local DFW group called Heroic Inner Kids is putting a collection of gamers together to collect support. HIK is a collection of cosplayers around the DFW area who support non-profit organizations by bringing costumed characters and volunteers to a variety of events. They’ve been to races, conventions, libraries, and the Texas State Fair. They’ve worked with Captain Hope’s Kids, the North Texas Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House, and will be helping out with National Adoption Day in November. But on November 7, 2015, HIK will be holding a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for Extra Life. (Full disclosure here: I’m a member of HIK, and on the advisory board.)

You can check out Tori’s story in the video below:

I have another story to share, as well. The host of the HIK Extra Life event is another advisory board member, David Downing. David has personal investment in this event, and he offered to share the story of his own sister’s fight with cancer.

Nov 7 is the day of the event. Nov 10 is the anniversary of my sister losing her fight with cancer. It’s been 27 years. Every year, that day is really tough for my family. This year, my hope is that our hearts are lifted by the good deeds and the good community in spite of such tragedy.

When I was young, we spent quite a bit of time at Cook Children’s Hospital in Ft Worth. The people were good to us. I was very young and it still left an impression. Perhaps the highest compliment that can be given is that my father was so moved by the people’s contributions there that after we lost so much he went to nursing school and dedicated his life’s work to a new career in order to give back. He wanted to help people in the same way that we had been helped. My work as a science educator has been largely influenced by those times as I help others change their lives and achieve their goals. That pain has never gone away, but I have come to understand and appreciate the pain I bear. My family wouldn’t be who they are now and I certainly wouldn’t be the man I am today without the terrible events we had to endure. In that way, my sister has a legacy.

When we go to remember the sadness of what happened to us in the past, and how many children must suffer there now…. Instead, my intention is to honor the struggle they faced and the one’s who will be facing that struggle in future years by coming together with like-minded individuals and sharing happiness through all kinds of games while we raise money to support the cause.

So, how can you help HIK and Extra Life? It’s easy! If you live in the DFW area and would like to physically participate (in person, or virtually), there are still spots open at the center where we will be gathering together to play video games, board games, card games, and RPGs. Sponsors – including D-Link, AMD, and Cards Against Humanity – have been kind enough to donate all sorts or prizes. You can sign up to join the team at Extra Life. (You can also join by visiting the team’s profile.) If you’d like to make a donation, you’re welcome to donate through me, which you can do here. Every little bit helps! On the day of the event, you’re also welcome to join HIK on Twitch.





  1. David Dowing, Sr

    I am the father of “Beth” David’s sister to whom he is doing this event for, I am so very proud of him and his ability to use his knowledge and skills along with all of his friends in the gaming community to achieve his goal… This is a tribute poem I wrote in 1988 for Beth…

    ~~~ BETH ~~~
    Kathryn Elizabeth Downing

    Sweet Little Beth
    1986 ~ 1988

    It was early one Wednesday morn,
    When our little girl was to be born.
    Before she could take her first little breath,
    We looked at each other and said she will be called “Beth”

    We brought her home from the hospital on a bright sunny day,
    And then she began to sleep, eat and play.
    Before we could realize, what do you know,
    Our little baby girl had started to grow.

    From the beginning things went so fast,
    No matter what we tried we could not make it last.
    She started to sit, crawl and finally to walk,
    Then in a blink of an eye she started to talk.

    The first words she said were “mommy” and “daddy” you know,
    When she said them it would make our hearts glow.
    Then as she got older she began to say,
    “Brother come here I’m ready to play.”

    One day we noticed she was not walking like she should,
    I said “she’s going to the doctor because this is not good.”
    Our doctor at home said “I can’t tell why she is sick,”
    So we’re sending you to ask Dr.’s Bowman, Champion and Pick.

    At first they were confused and could not say why,
    They said “please just be patient and try not to cry.”
    They did X-rays, bone marrows and many blood tests,
    Every thing went so slow but we knew they were doing their best.

    The results came back as we had hoped they would not,
    Dr. Pick came and told us that it’s cancer she’s got.
    He explained some of the treatment that she might go through,
    But right now there is a surgery that we really must do.

    During the surgery I took a deep breath,
    All I could think of was that cancer meant death.
    The doctor’s assured us, although they could not be sure,
    They would work every day in search of the cure.

    Through all of her treatments, even though she did not understand,
    She has been very strong and tries to be as good as she can.
    At first when the nurses would come in she would scream, cry and fight,
    Now she lies still, cooperates and tries to do everything right.

    We followed up with chemo and radiation too,
    And we tried to do everything the doctors told us to do.
    We have finished her treatments and she is still here,
    But what lies in the future is still very unclear.

    The tears have been many and the laughs have been few,
    But with the help of the doctors and nurses we will make it through.
    All the people here at Cooks are part of our family now,
    And to express how much we love them we will never know how.

    I’ve written this poem to let “Beth” know we’ve cared,
    And that all of her pain has been equally shared.
    There’s only one thing left to say to my little dear,
    We love you so much and we will always be here.

    Our little girl left for heaven this day,
    It’s time for the final goodbye but its so hard to say.
    In her new home “Beth” and God walk together,
    For her last words from us “we shall never forget her”

    David L. Downing – Father 1988

    • Kristin

      Thank you so much for coming by to share this! The event was a great success thanks to David. He did an amazing job.

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