Friday, September 23, 2016

Kepware Supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through Extra Life Games

Posted by Candace Letizia

Although I have only recently learned about Extra Life, its goals have really resonated with me. It's a 24-hour event where people across the country play any game they want—from board games to video games to sporting games—and all the money they raise directly supports their chosen Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospital. Since starting in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $22 million for local CMN Hospitals, enabling them to spend the money in a way that makes the biggest impact in the lives of the kids they treat. 

This year, Kepware is an Extra Life Local Hero sponsor. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center, providing them the opportunity and tools needed to grow the Extra Life program in Southern Maine and make a bigger impact in the lives of the kids they treat. This partnership is a natural extension of our charitable giving initiatives, which focus on to the Maine community, providing supportive funding to programs that further education, the Maine community, and the future of engineering. Extra Life supports these efforts, connecting technology with the community in a way that benefits children.


Extra Life 2015

After learning how we are participating this year, I started wondering how Kepware initially got involved with the event. My questions lead me to Software Engineer Zeke Pendexter, who discovered the event last year and started a team.

"Gaming is a pretty big part of my life," he said. "After learning that I could play games while supporting and raising money for a local hospital, I was really excited to get involved. I got in touch with my friends and several of my Kepware coworkers, and pretty soon, our team had grown to 15 people. Knowing we needed a space large enough to meet, I shared the Extra Life event details and goals with Kepware's Office Manager and President. Not only did they agree to host our team at the office, but Kepware also donated $700 to our fundraising efforts."

The morning of Extra Life 2015, the team met in one of Kepware’s conference rooms and set up a range of consoles and PCs. People brought in their own TVs and monitors, but shared games, consoles, and a lot of laughter. Some participated for a few hours, some stayed for the whole day, and eight people played for the full 24 hours. It's worth noting that Extra Life doesn’t make it mandatory to play for all 24 hours straight—they recommend food and stretching breaks, and even allow you to participate over a few days. That said, Zeke reported that everyone who played was in good spirits. When you're doing what you love and contributing to a good cause, what's there not to be happy about?

Extra Life 2016

This year's event will be held on November 5. With participation opened up to everyone at Kepware, Zeke is hoping to double if not triple attendance—and to have the fundraising to match. The 2015 team raised over $2,000 for the hospital; this year, they’re aiming for $5,000.

Although there's a lot of work to do over the next couple months (spreading the word, growing the team, and planning a fun event), it's worth it knowing that the money raised will directly benefit The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Located just down the road from our office, it cares for more than 98,000 children each year. It’s committed to enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research, and education, offering services in cancer treatment, cardiology, neonatal care, and numerous other pediatric specialties. We can't think of a more deserving place.

Right now I’m sure you’re thinking, “Where do I sign up?” Well, there are many ways for you to participate. You can start your own team or join a team in your community to fundraise for your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. You can also donate. But no matter how you participate, your actions will directly benefit children in your community. Now that's what we call gaming For the Kids (FTK).

Learn More About Extra Life