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We Interviewed Extra Lifer Jason Sckrabulis whose Raised More Than $25,000 #ForTheKids!

We “sat” down with nine-year Extra Lifer Jason Sckrabulis to hear how he got started in fundraising, how it felt when he raised his twenty-five thousandth dollar and how he feels about helping change kids’ health to change the future:

How did you hear and get started with Extra Life?

I first started Extra Life in 2012 when I saw a post on my favorite gaming forum Giant Bomb recruiting for their team. At the time, I was working a bad retail job and figured I could selfishly get a weekend off. Turns out it was one of the best choices I’ve made in life!

Do you have a personal connection to a children’s hospital?

When I started participating in Extra Life, I didn’t have a ‘why’. Through Extra Life, I’ve met hundreds from across the globe I can point to countless hospitals, stories, and people that have benefited from the care and services of a CMN hospital. For me, it’s something that has slowly revealed itself to me. When I was a kid, my dad was injured and we spend a majority of the next 5 years in and out of hospitals around the country. During that time, though I wasn’t directly a patient, I was given the opportunity to benefit from various child life activities and equipment. It’s taken me this long to fully realize what that meant to me, so a lot of my efforts in Extra Life focus on helping kids stay ‘normal’ while a patient or not. It’s part of the reason why we at Beaumont Children’s are excited to fund a pair of MRI-safe viewing headsets for use by all patients, not just children.

What did it mean to you when you raised your 25,000th dollar for Extra Life?

When I hit $25,000 raised for Beaumont Children’s during my 24-hour marathon last year, me and my guests were given a second wind to take on the early morning hours, a notoriously tough part of the marathon for most people. But inside, I was screaming with joy and excitement and it probably showed on camera! The rest of the marathon was full of energy that I can’t begin to describe.

What does “Change Kids’ Health, Change the Future” mean to you?

To me, it reveals what good we can do as an individual. As a CMN Hospitals fundraiser, we all know where these dollars go (specialized equipment and materials, child life services, etc). If we can impact a single family, hopefully, you start a chain-reaction of inspiration. I once brought all my gaming equipment to the Beaumont Children’s garden and just played games all day with actual patients and their families.

One patient and his dad really stood out to me, where I just booted up Minecraft and let him play for the 30-40 minutes while I ask him questions about the game, what he likes, and making a little small talk. When they were about to leave, the patient’s father came up to me in tears about how his son had been upset and unhappy in the hospital, gave me a hug, and thanked me for trying to give his son a more normal day. They stayed for another 15 minutes and asked about why we were here, which led to more questions about Extra Life. He signed up on the spot to raise money just like the rest of us. No one will know how my actions inspired this single family, let alone all the good that may come from that single 40-minute session of Minecraft. As Extra Life participants, we have so much power that we don’t know we possess! I hope he’s still out there raising money and reads this.

What is your fundraising goal for 2020?

My fundraising this year and every year is the amount that I raised for Extra Life from the previous year. For me, it sets a goal that I struggled to get to the previous year. It forces me to think of new and inventive ways to raise money. This year my goal is $3070.20 and I’m expecting to blow past it!

Can you talk about any milestones you are offering on your Extra Life page?

I do not have any current active milestones, but I owe a couple to my donors. First, I’m long past due of my homemade Beverly (Coca-Cola’s Italian apertif soda – notoriously bitter and unlikeable) from Extra Life United Online Edition. Second, I’ll be doing my first ever randomized run of Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (where all the items are randomly placed throughout the world) guided by an Extra Lifer in Kentucky.

What is one of your favorite Extra Life memories?

Two weeks ago, I would have had a completely different answer. But I just finished one of my more exciting milestones from 2019 (and the inspiration for this very interview). My first Extra Life marathon was streamed directly through my phone camera while I played Power Rangers games for the entirety of the 24 hours. I’ve always been a fan of the series and wanted to represent my childhood heroes. In 2019, I proposed a milestone that when I hit $25,000 raised, I would redo this marathon. Every single Power Rangers game I could fit into 24 hours as I could. I struggled with the same games at the same time (some of those games are… not good). I enjoyed the games I remember owning growing up.

When I finished the marathon and ended the stream that Saturday, I was nearly in tears remembering the past 9 years. I didn’t even feel tired, I felt energized, at ease, and proud of what I’ve become through Extra Life. Then, I just wanted a day off to have fun. Now? Extra Life is a part of my being and will be forever. The people I’ve met through Extra Life are some of the best friends I’ve ever had, despite probably meeting them in person once. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Maybe in another $25,000, you can find me streaming Power Rangers games for a third time…

What games are you playing right now?

Right now, I’m playing a lot of board games on Tabletop Simulator, including a campaign of Gloomhaven with Extra Lifers in Wisconsin and New York. I’m also unlocking Marvel skins in Fortnite, organizing my warehouse in Wilmot’s Warehouse, and excited to finally start playing Control!

What are you looking forward to most in gaming?

Any gamer will tell you that new consoles and PC hardware are exciting, and they are! I’m looking forward to new and exciting games I can play with my friends, as well as interesting or silly games to play during my Extra Life marathons.

How are you hanging in there with COVID-19 and the effects of the pandemic on daily life?

I’m probably doing just as well as anyone else in dealing with COVID-19. It’s been difficult of course, but it’s also opened other doors for everyone. I am able to support more Extra Life streamers during the day while working from home, I play games regularly with my friends, and I stream more to bring attention to Extra Life.

If you could tell someone WHY they should join Extra Life and fundraise, what would you say?

If anyone is interested in playing any type of game, that’s enough! You do not have to go out and raise thousands of dollars to make an impact. You don’t have to stream. All you have to do is try and raise some money for the kids, in your own way. Every dollar is needed, and I can guarantee there is someone in your life that has been impacted by the efforts of a children’s hospital, and you might not even know. Extra Life can also be life-changing if you open up and let it work it’s magic.

Do you plan to stick to 24-hour streams? Or have you thought about breaking it up?

For most of my 9 years doing Extra Life, I’ve only ever streamed my 24-hour marathon, with a few special streams dotted throughout the year. The community we have fostered over the years is amazing, and through that, I’ve started streaming more regularly with them! This year, I’ve already streamed many more hours than I ever have in previous years.

DOo you have any other cool Extra Life plans for this year?

Aside from the milestones I have yet to fulfill, I’m just going to steadily ramp up to Game Day in November. Time to concentrate on graduation!

You can donate to Jason’s Extra Life fundraising page and find him on Twitch, Twitter and most gaming platforms: zolloz89!

Don’t forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!