I have had a couple of messages lately asking me who the heck are The Speed Gamers and how on Earth did they donate over $10,000 to my fund raising. I’ve mentioned them here and there in several posts, I have verbally told many about them, but I never did a full fledged write up on how awesome they are. I think it’s time that I fix that!
It was early 2009 when a co-worker and good friend of mine name Bob approached me. He knew that I was starting to raise money for the 3-Day and had a suggestion for me. His nephew was a part of a group of guys that ran a web site and raised money for charities. I asked him how, and while I don’t really remember the exact words I’ll explain in my own words what they do:
They have a web site at http://thespeedgamers.com and on this web site they do video game marathons. That last term probably needs a little clarification. They will play a series of games (like Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Mother: Earthbound) for a solid 72 hours (usually, some have been 48 and they have a week long one they do over the summer). That’s 72 hours without stopping. They rotate players in and out so that they can get some rest. On their web site, they have a video feed of the game that they are playing that people can come and watch. In addition to that video feed, they have a feed of a commentator who is talking to the people in the next component of the site and that is the chat room.
So people come, chat, listen to the commentator, watch the video game being played and then donate. The guys don’t take ANY money out of the donations, they donate every single penny to the charity that they are playing for. All funds for paying for their site hosting and everything are generated by selling t-shirts between the marathons (you can buy shirts at http://store.thespeedgamers.com/ if you want to help them out!).
I’ll be totally honest here when I say that when Bob told me about these guys, I was a little skeptical. I couldn’t see how that could raise the type of money that he was telling me about. At the time he thought that they could maybe help me raise $2,000-$3,000. Despite my uncertainty I went ahead and talked with Britt to see if they would do a marathon for me. I figured that even if they raise $100, it would be $100 more than I would have raised without them.
I met with Britt, Bob’s nephew, a couple of weeks after they had done a marathon for Ally’s House and raised over $5,000. This was the most that they had ever raised in a marathon. I was starting to come around, because this was a marathon that they had done working with Bob, so there weren’t any smoke and mirrors to be had. This was in fact the real deal. So I met with Britt. I have to say that I really wish that I had a tenth of the humility and grounding that he has when I was his age. He was soft spoken, he wasn’t bragging at all about the money that he had raised in the past. When I asked him how much he thought the marathon could possibly raise, he answered in a softly spoken voice that he thought it might be able to raise $3,000. That year, the marathon raised $3,000 before the first day was over and $10,586 by the end of three days.
We had another marathon this year and it was only 48 hours long because of some scheduling difficulties, but they still raised over $10,000. I still don’t know that I completely understand it, but these guys are amazing and you should really go check out their site and see if there are other marathons coming up and take a look. I have watched several and it can become kind of addictive.
They do more than just breast cancer fund raising, they help out autism, childhood cancer, and much more. Check out the marathons they have done and the amazing amounts of money that they have raised here: http://www.thespeedgamers.com/past-marathons
The last thing that I want to say is thank you to The Speed Gamers. They took something that they enjoy doing, that a lot of people enjoy doing, and molded that into an immense force of good. You guys rock.
Hopefully I will have an interview with Britt from The Speed Gamers up here in the very near future and we can talk about how they got started, where they are going and anything in between!