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My Story and Why I’m Participating

This post was written by Jon Shaub first-year Extra Lifer playing for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. You can learn more about Extra Life at

This is my first year participating in Extra Life, so I’m not really sure what I can do to advertise it. I figured a good starting point would be to share my own story in order to inspire others.

When I was 4 years old, my preschool teacher noticed that my left cheek was a bit puffy. After my parents consulted with a pediatrician, dentist, and an oral specialist, I was diagnosed with a tumor along my upper left jaw. My parents were told that to remove the tumor would result in me losing part of my palate along with the teeth on that side. The oral specialist did some research and discovered an experimental treatment, which my parents agreed to try. The treatment worked, decreasing the size of the tumor, and I finally underwent surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to have it removed. Thanks to the treatment beforehand, I did not lose part of my palate, only some teeth, which later orthodontic work would correct. I don’t remember much from that time, since I was so young, only a few memories that I’d rather not have. But I received great care and my family is very thankful for that.

Growing up, I would watch my brother play games on our Super Nintendo. Eventually, I played as well. We moved onto the N64 when it came out, then the Gamecube, and so on. I own multiple consoles today, which have helped me through some difficult parts in my life. I went to college for a degree in Computer Science because of video games. And I hope one day to work at a game studio. Video games have shaped me into who I am today and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I’ve wanted to participate in Extra Life for years, but now I finally have the chance to. I’m so happy I’m able to combine my passion for video games with a good cause. I want all children to receive the best care possible, the care they deserve, the care I received. And with everyone working together, that hope can become a reality.

You can share your Why I Extra Life story by visiting: and be sure to sign up for Extra Life to help heal kids in hospitals across North America.