KC Gamers Bring ELU Winnings Back To KU

Every year, gamers from all over the US & Canada come together in Orlando, FL for Extra Life United to complete one mission. Help local kids get better. Gamers compete to win a portion of a $150,000 prize pool that will turn in to a donation for the CMN hospital of their choice. Four gamers for KU Medical Center Pediatrics attended to compete for a part of the prize pot and got way more than just the opportunity to play games for kids. Jessie Bledsoe, Billy Bledsoe, JT Galloway and Michael Oliver all had the opportunity to network with other passionate charity gamers, sit on panels to share best practices and connect with miracle kids who have benefitted from national fundraising. Here’s what they had to say about their experiences at ELU:

Michael Oliver:

I went to ELU 2016 (the second ELU) as my first.  While the actual gaming tournament was fun, it was meeting the Enmon family, the Champions, Doc, Liz, Beave, and the other Extra Lifers that really inspired me. That year, I raised over $1500, and got my first ever gold medal. I have returned to each of the 2 ELUs since, and have proceeded to raise over $1000 each year (outside of ELU winnings), motivated by the other Extra Lifers out there.  Some of the friendships were so instant and so complete, that I have had Extra Lifers from around the country come and stay with me in Dallas for events, and I have even traveled to other states to take part in their Extra Life events.  I cannot see a situation in which I would not make every effort possible to attend ELU in the future, it has become the highlight of my year.

JT Galloway:

Upon just arriving to the resort, I hadn’t even put down my bags and I was greeted by fellow extra lifers and fellow members of the Extra Life stream team with a welcoming hug and high five. That kindness and family-feel went throughout the entire weekend from each and every person. Combine that with the honor to speak in front of fellow extra lifers on their first ever ELU panel, sharing my “why I extra life” story with the Central CMN region, raising money for my hospital in the tournament, and shout casting while being on the front page of twitch during the Rivals of Aether game final (and getting to shout out KU Pediatrics!) my first ELU is still somewhat surreal and more than anything I could have envisioned. I am incredibly proud to be a part of something so amazing not just #Forthekids but also being a part of a group made up of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. If anyone ever has the opportunity to go to ELU, GO AND DO IT, it will change your life for the better…Guaranteed 🙂

Jessie Bledsoe:

So Extra Life United, to me, is really a motivating experience. Besides meeting and networking with Extra Lifer participants from all over the country, you get to meet and talk to the real faces that CMN Hospitals has helped. ELU gives you a chance to earn some additional funds for your hospital while invigorating your drive to volunteer with Extra Life. You get to have tons of fun, try to win some money, and come face to face with real families. ELU networking provides ideas for fund raising in the future and really helps shape your “why.” Why do you Extra Life? Why do you get so involved? It’s the kids. Seeing them smile and laugh and have a second of a normal life gives new meaning to Extra Life’s slogan, “Play games, heal kids.” I could go on and on about all the experiences that happen while at Extra Life United, but I think it’s best to experience it in person, so if you are a convention person, definitely put this one on your list. It will, in fact, change your life.

Each one of our awesome gamers walked away winners, totaling up to $2,000 in donations for KU Medical Center Pediatrics; Michael Oliver ($1,525), JT Galloway ($325), Billy Bledsoe ($80) and Jessie Bledsoe ($70). Ready to join Extra Life and game for KU Medical Center Pediatrics? Sign up today and check out our Facebook for all things Extra Life KC with upcoming events! Questions? Contact kwalden2@kumc.edu.

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