For the past three years, Chris Shomo and Paul Schillinger have been raising money through the Extra Life program for Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital by live-streaming a 25-hour video game marathon. While playing games with a friend for 25 hours straight sounds like a blast, the purpose was to help children in hospitals like Penn State Children’s Hospital — children like Chris’ niece, Calliope.
“Calliope, or Calli for short, was born on Easter in 2012 and by August of that same year, she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. It is an extremely rare form of cancer in infants with a survival rate of only 30-40%. The diagnosis was so rare in fact that Calli is one of 50 documented cases. Calli would require 2 surgeries to remove the tumor followed by chemotherapy and the first stem cell transplant at Penn State Children’s Hospital. The doctors, surgeons, and nurses all did phenomenal work and thanks to their efforts, Calli’s tumor was removed and she is now 6 years old and cancer-free. Calli’s journey to where is she is today is the reason we joined Extra Life. I only witnessed a fraction of the hardships Calli and her family had to endure, and what I saw I would never wish upon anyone. Thankfully Calli’s story is ongoing, and we want to ensure many other children at PSCH get the chance to live their stories too ” – Chris Shomo
The marathon ran from 10 a.m., November 3rd and concluded at 10 a.m., November 4th. Incentives were also given to people who donated, depending on how much they donated. For example, people that would donate $25 or more, Paul would craft a quick song of thank you with his guitar, and for a $50 or more donation, the difficulty of the game would be amped up (playing blindfolded, two players using one controller, etc.). After 25 long hours of gaming, the goal of $2,100 was reached, marking yet another successful marathon for the duo.
“I’m extremely thrilled that we were able to reach our goal. This is a very important event for myself and Paul and we try to put a lot of effort into it. So to see the amazing response we got, it’s really incredible. And of course, I am already thinking of ideas for next year’s marathon.”
The entire 25-hour live stream can be watched on Youtube here.
You can also read Calli’s full story written by her mother here.
The goal of $2,100 was reached but the donation page is still up until the end of the year!