Skip to main content

Meet Emily Kukral, Our Latest Angels in Action Award Winner!

Extra Life periodically honors the people in our community who volunteer to go above and beyond for the kids. The Angels in Action Award recognizes these exceptional individuals and we couldn’t be happier to give this one to Emily Kukral! Emily was nominated by her local hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, for her work over the last seven years to help change kids’ health and change the future. She’s raised nearly $4,000 USD for her selected children’s hospital and recently pitched an idea for a show that is broadcasted to hospitalized pediatric patients — the Skylight TV Game On show.

Learn more about Emily below:

Extra Life: How and why did you get involved in Extra Life?

Emily Kukral: I originally got involved with Extra Life through Dave Hansen and his fundraising efforts. I provided food and support for his game days for a few years. Then decided to get more involved in the guild and general fundraising with my own goals.

EL: How have you learned and evolved with your fundraising since you started?

EK: When I first started fundraising, it was not a fully personal fundraiser but more of a way to help my community doing something I love. As the years have progressed and I met the kids at Extra Life United or through Lurie’s it became so much more. Meeting kids like Adler and seeing the impact of what we do has made it personal and all the more important.

EL: What keeps you coming back to Extra Life year after year?

EK: The impact. I was a part of raising over $200,000.00 for my hospital in 2019 (2020 TBD). Whether it was the funds I raised or the people I helped recruit, the impact is an infinite chain reaction. Also, how can you not return for your hundreds of closest internet friends.

EL: What was your most favorite gaming experience you have had while raising money for Extra Life?

EK: I think my favorite experience would have to be our guild send-off in September 2019. We had 30ish people all in the hospital conference rooms, so many games, hundreds raised, and community built. It was pure happiness and fun.

EL: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your Extra Life efforts this year? What did you do to accommodate these changes?

EK: The biggest impact for me was the lack of conventions. I spend most of my time helping organize table at events to recruit new players and raise awareness and money. All my Extra Life efforts all went digital this year with social media. I posted on Facebook and Twitter. I also made a commitment to donate $10 per paycheck, I didn’t need that McMuffin anyways. I tried to hype my friend’s fundraisers and get the word out still. Even recruited a few friends from gaming groups.

EL: If someone sees your story and wants to do the same, what is your advice on how they might be able to follow your example?

EK: If you can play a game, you can make a difference even if you are in support of someone. There is no reason not to get involved. $1 or $1 million. There is no limit on the good you can do. Out of 50 people, you may only reach 1 person but that is enough. I can’t say this enough, what you can do will matter to someone.

EL: For other Extra Life participants wanting to become involved with their local hospitals more, what is some advice you would give them to go about doing that?

EK: Send an email, contact the local guild, contact the guild a city over, join the national Discord. There is a VERY good chance there are 100 people willing to help you out. This community rallies and gets it done.

EL: What is something you wish you could tell everyone about Extra Life?

EK: This is the biggest family you never knew you had. Whether it’s tabletop, pc, or console, we are all gamers and we are all here to help the kids and each other. 

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!