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Meet the Marine Raising Money for Hasbro Children’s Hospital from the Other Side of the Planet

Extra Life brings together not just people in North America, but people around the world. Gunnery Sergeant Leon Branchaud, also known as DudeGuyBroGuy online, is one of the people that participate in Extra Life from half a world away.

Since hearing about the incredible fundraising work done by Rooster Teeth in 2015, Branchaud has been participating in Extra Life every year. Regardless of where he has been stationed, he made time to either participate on or around Game Day to raise money for the sick and injured kids at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in his home state of Rhode Island.

Over the past 5 years, he has managed to raise over $9,000 for the kids through his persistence and dedication. He’s even taken to eating progressively hotter and hotter things on stream in order to raise money, consuming food items graded in the millions of Scoville Heat Units.

We reached out to Gunnery Sergeant Leon Branchaud to talk a bit about the challenges of raising money for the kids back home while stationed in different places around the world.


Jack Gardner: What got you started fundraising for Extra Life?

Gunnery Sergeant Leon Branchaud: I heard about Extra-Life through the Rooster Teeth Podcast back around 2015. I researched into in and checked out the website. I thought that everything Extra Life did was absolutely amazing, and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. Giving children the help and care that I received as a child seemed like something I needed to do to give back.

JG: Do you have a specific connection to the children’s hospitals in Rhode Island?

GySgt LB: The Women and Infant’s Hospital in Providence, RI was a substantial part of my development as an infant and through my childhood. When I was born in 1986, I was underdeveloped and 1.5 pounds. There is no way I would have made it as far as I have in life if it wasn’t for all the amazing people that work in children’s hospitals.

JG: Have you been fundraising from South Korea or have there been other places you’ve streamed from for the kids at Hasbro Children’s?

GySgt LB: I have been in quite a few places since 2016. I started while I was stationed in Twentynine Palms, California, continued putting together yearly fundraisers in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and have been able to continue while being stationed here at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.

JG: Is it difficult to stream from the other side of the world? What sorts of problems do you encounter?

GySgt LB: I have been very fortunate for the internet to be as good as it is in the places I have been stationed. While there is a large language gap playing online in South Korea sometimes, it doesn’t take away from the fun at all. The other part is trying to match times with when my friends back in the United States are online. But when it all comes together, it’s perfect!

JG: What is it like to get approval to stream video games for charity while in the military? Was it challenging to make the case for it when you first began participating?

GySgt LB: With Game Day events taking place on the weekends, it’s actually very easy for military members to take part! Most have days off in which they can take part in their personal time to contribute to their favorite children’s hospital through Extra Life. Sometimes, there are training events that take place which removes you from where you normally are stationed, but planning around training is not hard, as we can use other weekends to make up for missing the actual Game Day. There are some years where you can’t put as much time you want into an event prior to Game Day, but setting up a 24-hour time-frame to conduct a live stream is absolutely doable.

JG: Do other marines in the barracks get in on streaming or fundraising with you? Are there any unique challenges to streaming from a barracks?

GySgt LB: I have met several Marines, some active-duty and some prior service, that take part in the yearly events. My best friend who I served with in Okinawa from 2008-2010, GameLike Lucky, has joined me every year for Game Day. He even has his own donation page which contributes to the Renown Children’s Hospital of Reno, Nevada.

There are not any crazy challenges with gaming from a barracks room. Sometimes the internet is a little slower compared to living out in the town, but gaming and streaming is still 100% doable.

JG: What have you learned over the past five years of fundraising for the kids? What advice do you have for newcomers?

GySgt LB: I learned that some years will not be as successful as others. There will be years you surpass a fundraising goal and some years that you barely reach it. You have to learn that it’s something you can’t be frustrated with because even the smallest contribution can help change a child’s life, and that is all that matters. That is the reason we do this.

For newcomers, I recommend that you find new ways to make your stream stand out. Engage your audience on more than just Game Day, as the passion you put into it will create a better result. Your fundraising is only limited to your creativity and dedication.

JG: You have a history of eating the spiciest things you can get your hands on to help you raise money. What’s the hottest food you’ve experienced so far?

GySgt LB: The Choco Challenge by Fuego Spice Co. (2,200,000 SHU) and Satan’s Toe Challenge (9,000,000 SHU) were the most intense challenges when it comes to spicy foods. The chocolate bar seemed to coat every part of my body with absolute lava. Satan’s Toe had such an intense mouth burn that I actually thought I wouldn’t be able to finish, but some encouragement from friends watching live kept me going and motivated me through it.


This year he has raised over $2,300 USD! You can donate to help change kids’ health through his Extra Life page here.

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!