BIGBITE Interviews: Extra Life @ RTX 2016
Transcribed by Matthew “Retrograder” VanDeZande and edited by Jay Michael
Matt: We’re back at RTX Day 3! Talking to Liz from Extra Life. Liz, how are you doing today?
Liz: I’m doing really well! How are you doing?
M: I’m doing great! It’s a wonderful day, it’s super loud in here.
L: Suuuper loud.
M: So first off, tell me about how Extra Life started and how we got to where we are today!
L: So Extra Life started in 2008 and was founded by a guy named Jeromy Adams, who is still with the program. Basically, he was working at a radio station in Texas and they were doing a radiothon to raise money for Texas Children’s Hospital, and through his work there he met a little girl named Victoria Enmon. She had leukemia and was treated at the hospital. He started hanging out with her and her family and found out that she really liked to play games. So he was part of a community called Sarcastic Gamer and he basically reached out to his community and said, “Hey, I met this girl Tori, she really loves to play games, can we send her some games?” And the community responded by sending hundreds of games, so much that she had to give away her games to all of her other friends in the hospital. So it really lifted her spirits, but unfortunately Tori ended up passing away, but that’s pretty much what started Extra Life. In response to Tori’s passing, Jeromy was like, “I have to do this with my life.” So that started as people just signing up, committing to play games for 24 hours, which was this crazy thing, and the cool part with Extra Life is that you can play any game that you want on any platform that you want, you can do it all in one twenty-four-hour sitting or you can do it over multiple days. But the money that you raise goes to your local children’s hospital. And Extra Life is on an honor system. Most people do it in one big twenty-four-hour stream, but you can break it up into two twelve-hour days, you could do an hour for twenty-four days, the most important thing is that you’re raising money for your local children’s hospital. Also you do not have to stream, most people just do it at home with their friends and family.
M: So basically anyone can sign up as long as they have someone to sponsor them, more or less?
L: Yeah, signing up is free and easy, just go to Extra-Life.org, then we create an online fundraising page for you and then you ask your friends and family to donate to your page. We make it really easy — you can connect your Facebook account, your Twitter account, your Twitch, so it’s easy to ask people for donations.
M: And obviously we’re here at RTX and you guys have done big streams with Rooster Teeth in the past. Looking back on it from your perspective, what has it been like to have that amount of sheer antics going on for 24 hours?
L: It was insane watching that stream happen last year — every year, but especially last year where they required medics to come because people were physically hurt … for a good cause.
M: As long as it’s for a good cause, right?
L: Exactly! And from my perspective being on the Extra Life side I’m thinking, “Our PR team is going to have a fit with this!” But we were actually really proud with how our company responded and were like, “You know what, they just raised a LOT of money for sick and injured kids, how can we say no to that?” We absolutely love Rooster Teeth and what they do, and working with Jack and Caiti this year to make this stream the biggest yet!
M: Before I leave, I just want to ask you what is your favorite part of RTX and the Rooster Teeth community?
L: Oh my goodness. This is my first RTX and I’ve been involved with Rooster Teeth for the last couple years. Honestly, I’d say it’s just meeting the community members. We did a go-kart charity event — well, Jack did it and we were there helping with the raffle and the set-up and everything — so we got to meet a lot of community members one-on-one and see how generous and nice they are. So that’s been my favorite part — that real-life, face-to-face interaction with the community. We ended up raising over $15,000 that night, so while that’s been awesome, it’s been even more just meeting people in person.
M: Thank you so much! Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Extra Life before we go?
L: Just feel free to sign up at Extra-Life.org and thank you so much!