Gaming marathon raises cash for kids’ mental health

Gaming marathon raises cash for kids’ mental health

Max Major, left, reacts as he plays Soulcalibur VI against Darryl Heater Saturday. Joined by Shaun Hood, in blue, and Shawn Chapman, right, the creators of Playing for Charity spent 24 hours in Lambton Mall this weekend playing video games and raising more than $2,200 for St. Clair Child and Youth Services. (Tyler Kula/Sarnia Observer)

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An emerging Black Friday tradition of local gamers button mashing 24-hours straight for charity brought in another solid haul of coins for kids’ mental health in Sarnia-Lambton this year.

Max Major and Darryl Heater were back on the couch in Lambton Mall overnight Friday for a Twitch-streamed gamefest that brought in $2,200 for St. Clair Child and Youth Services.

Joined this year by Shaun Hood and Shawn Chapman, the duo behind Playing for Charity have raised about $10,000 for different children’s charities in Sarnia-Lambton over four years, said Major.

“The nerd community is strong in Sarnia; they always show up to support,” said Major, blinking away from fighter Soulcalibur VI with about an hour to go in the gaming gauntlet Saturday afternoon.

“A little bit laggy, a little bit slow,” he said about his condition.

“It’s fun but it’s grueling,” he said. “Even if you love something, doing it for 24 hours straight, it’s a little bit much.”

The gaming group had help from friends and family, bringing them coffee and energy drinks, and telling people what they were up to as they focused on the game, he said.[“source=forbes]

 Max Major, left, Darryl Heater, Shaun Hood and Shawn Chapman spent 24 hours in Lambton Mall playing video games this weekend. Playing for Charity this year brought in more than $2,200 for St. Clair Child and Youth Services. (Tyler Kula/Sarnia Observer)

“This year’s event almost didn’t happen,” Major said, as the group’s normal furniture and television supplier fell through.

They found another, but the end result was a bare bones version of the event that in years past has promised hooks like a lesson in Overwatch from Lambton College’s varsity e-sports team.

Hopes are to get the team involved again in the future, and maybe also partner with the District Beta virtual reality arcade, Major said.

“We’ve got a lot of really cool video-game, nerd-based institutions … in this town and we’d like to be able to get them involved,” he said.

Even without any bells and whistles, he said, the event still generated close to the $2,500 mark it made last year for St. Clair Child and Youth.

“We’ll keep this going as long as people keep donating,” he said, thanking people for their generosity.

Some tips for making it through the night include making sure to stand up and walk, and bringing along a case of water, he said.

“You’re four buddies on a couch so you’ll be mercilessly teased if you even look like you’re nodding off,” he said. “You have to stay awake.”

The mall overnight is neat but creepy, he said, noting the music is on well after close and well before opening.

“You get a little crazy from all those Christmas tunes,” he said.