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Extra Life’s Decade of Playing Games to Heal Kids

Over the past ten years, Extra Life has seen explosive growth. Our gaming fundraiser began humbly as a grassroots effort and is now set to surpass $70 million USD total raised for our 170 member hospitals. We wanted to take a moment to walk down memory lane, highlighting some of the best moments from the past decade.


Extra Life becomes a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program. Although Extra Life began in 2008, by 2010 it was clear that the program had the potential to be replicated annually and grow each year. In 2010, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals committed to invest into Extra Life for the long-haul and provided powerful resources to fuel Extra Life’s growth over the decade.

Check out this video to learn Victoria Enmon’s story, the young girl we all rally behind when we play games to heal kids:


First $1 million USD raised #ForTheKids. In 2011, Extra Life was still in its grassroots stage, growing steadily alongside the emerging gaming industry; in fact 2011 was also the year that Twitch was created. Imagine our delight when we realized that gamers had the power to raise over a million dollars to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals!

Pardon me… but you folks are amazing… in 2011 we literally broke the counter on Extra Life at the very end by going…

Posted by Extra Life on Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Broadcasting platforms help elevate Extra Life. Gaming and fundraising both began to see a future in livestreaming at this time. In 2012, Twitch went through its first round of venture capital fundraising and began to make a name for itself. YouTube also was becoming a dominant player, with films related to charity proving to go as viral as top 40 music videos. On YouTube, genres began to develop major followings as vloggers were becoming household names.

Here at Extra Life, we saw a powerful future for gaming videos and we were uniquely positioned to make charitable asks to fans of the genre.


Guilds launch in 5 markets. We knew that Extra Life’s strength lay in grassroots fundraising. We launched five local Guilds, empowering our most dedicated volunteers with resources to take Extra Life to the next level. Today, there are over 80 guilds across North America!

Amazing streams began emerging. Hilarious, influential and powerful live-streaming for Extra Life began emerging in 2013 on YouTube. Check out this vintage stream from our friends at Giant Bomb:



Amazing community growth. In 2014, we harnessed the momentum we were seeing in our grassroots Guild program, expanding it into 20+ markets. This year, we reached 100,000 participants and donors who gave generously to Extra Life. We also made medals available to top Extra Lifers, proving that tangible items could remind donors of their passion to help kids.

Good news, the first batch of medals have shipped! Our supplier has advised that medals will go out in batches over the…

Posted by Extra Life on Thursday, February 6, 2014

Extra Life raises $10 million USD since its inception. We were blown away to raise a cumulative 8-figure total in funds raised #ForTheKids.

Extra Life United’s inaugural year. As we saw people gathering at gaming tournaments across the country, we were inspired to host our first ever Extra Life United. We believed it could be powerful to create a tournament prize pool for top gamers where the funds went to the hospital instead of into a competitor’s pocket.


Extra Life activates at gaming conventions. In 2015, we made a point to be present at the inaugural TwitchCon in San Francisco. We also were so excited to attend San Diego Comic Con with our Rainbow Six Activation.

We host our first Tabletop Appreciation Weekend. We love our tabletop gamers and created an entire fundraising weekend to celebrate this analog gaming style. Today, Tabletop Appreciation Weekend remains a powerful rally point for Extra Life every August.

Extra Life joins forces with Pixels’ movie campaign. Miracle Kid Jessica traveled to New York City to interview the cast of Pixels on the red carpet at the film’s premier. Check out this adorable video as stars like Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and more talk about their passion for gaming.



“Why I Extra Life” becomes a powerful mantra. It’s so inspiring to hear to the personal reasons that Extra Life motivates people to play games and heal kids. In 2016 we launched our “Why I Extra Life” video series to hear from our most dedicated supporters. So many people have a personal connection to our member hospitals, perhaps the hospital saved their life or the life of someone they love dearly. Why do you Extra Life?


Extra Life brings joy to children in the hospitals. One thing that we love about gaming is that it’s an inviting activity for kids who may be too sick to play outside. In 2017, we were so inspired to hear about Christien Quiles’ story in Temple, Texas. Christien was being treated for cancer at McLane Children’s and served on the hospital’s Teen Advisory Board. The Teen Advisory Board saw the potential for Extra Life to empower young people to fundraise for patients like Christien. Although his life was cut short far too soon, his legacy and passion for gaming lives on. Watch to learn more:



Extra Life celebrates 10 years of playing games to heal kids. In 2018, we celebrated Extra Life’s 10th anniversary! With Guilds in over 80 cities and partners like Rooster Teeth proving they can raise over $1 million every year, in 2018 we realized that the sky was the limit for charitable gaming.

Extra Life raises $55 million USD in ten years. Growing alongside the booming streaming and esports industry, Extra Life positioned itself as the charity that gamers look to support when they’re looking to give back locally.



Extra Life team expands. Although Extra Life was recognized as an official Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals program in 2010, the team has always been tiny yet mighty. In 2019, the team experienced massive growth, bringing on five new staffers, more than doubling the team’s capacity.

We rally for Pride. This past summer it was such an honor to rally alongside Champion Kid Allison and support the LGBTQ+ community. Our hospitals play a unique role in providing medical services to young transgender patients and we loved sharing a rainbow of inspiring stories related to Pride this past June.

We debut our first ever Human Claw Machine While we always dreamt of making a huge splash at events like E3 and TwitchCon, this year our reach at these conventions was undeniable. Partnering with GameStop Gives, we took over E3’s entrance with a massive Human Claw Machine, which then made a second appearance at TwitchCon a few months later.

The future is bright

Extra Life began as in 2008 to support “a little girl in Texas” and we could have never dreamt that the program would be so explosive and genre-defining just 12 years later. We cannot wait to see what the next decade of playing games to heal kids holds for us. Thank you for making this past decade such a success.

It’s never too late to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! Donations for 2019 are accepted year-round!