Northland Gamers Playing for Good
Posted at: 11/01/2013 4:26 PM
| Updated at: 11/01/2013 6:21 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
For the last five years, tens of thousands of gamers have come together to play for 24 hours of Extra Life. This year, they'll fall back with the clocks and play for 25 hours.
Extra Life is a nationwide gaming marathon in support of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
Two young men from Cloquet will play in the nationwide fundraiser for the first time.
"I was born with a disability called spina bifida," explained Reid Hietala.
Born and raised in Cloquet, Reid is 25 years old. Over the years, surgeries at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare have allowed him to live life independently.
"Gillette has been like my second home. I've had 41 surgeries and if it wasn't for them I don't know where I'd be. I'd probably be in a group home right now and not living on my own," said Reid.
So he wants to give back - by playing some cribbage.
"I like playing card games, I'm not much of a video game guy," explained Reid.
With support from family and friends, Reid will play cribbage for 25 hours. In the nationwide Extra Life fundraiser, gamers can play any kind of game, such as cards, but video games are the most popular.
Alex Hall is a senior at Cloquet High School.
He's a typical 17-year-old, but he has something called tibial torsions, it's where the shin bones twist inward.
"I used to almost be like crying because I couldn't stand anymore by the end of the day with my feet problems," said Alex.
At Gillette's, Alex was fitted with custom insoles.
"I get to play hockey a lot and I used to not be able to do that as much as I wanted to. I can definitely do that now because I just take insoles out and put them right in my skates," explained Alex.
He's also a serious gamer, though he's a little nervous about the marathon.
"I don't know what to get! How much soda I'm going to drink is probably going to be crazy," Alex said.
But he says helping all those kids is worth staying up all night.
"Feels like you're part of something big, you know?" explained Alex.
The fundraiser begins Saturday. Money goes to over 170 different children's hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. Since the event started in 2008, gamers have raised $4 million for the Children's Miracle Network.