Videogamageddon is an annual joint fundraiser held by the Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS) and CaliCan Rescue. In it, the two organisations face off to see which one can raise the most bucks for animals in need. Both CaliCan and GEARS are completely volunteer-run, which means that they need all of the financial support they can get to provide for the animals in their care.
Participants played video games of their choice for 24 hours, and had the option of attending the event at OverKlocked, a LAN gaming center, or playing from home.
The event began four years ago, under the name Play 4 Paws, as a fundraiser of CaliCan and the Oregon Humane Society. The following year, CaliCan held a similar event on its own, before getting GEARS involved two years ago.
“Last year we raised about $2,100, so (this year provided) about double,” Marketing and Education Director Jillanne Bowler-Veltman said, highlighting the growth of the event. The number of participants also more than doubled this year. “We had nine (people) at OverKlocked, and two participated from home,” compared to “about five last year.”
Last year, participants with GEARS played exclusively from home, streaming via Twitch. Holding the event at OverKlocked this time around provided an opportunity to engage with others in the community and play a wide variety of games, as well as having 24-hour access to OverKlocked’s concession.
Staying awake for 24 hours to game, especially with a full work week on the horizon, is no small undertaking. Speaking on which location works better for a marathon of this length, Bowler-Veltman said that from what she’d heard from the participants, “it was easier to play with the group because you have social interaction the whole time … From home, once everyone goes to bed, you’re kind of on your own.”
In looking at next year, Bowler-Veltman expressed a hope that GEARS will be able to have another LAN party next year, if OverKlocked is able to host again. She also hopes to see more people get involved.
At the event’s conclusion, GEARS raised $4,207, but CaliCan took the edge, ending with $8,485.
While the amount of money raised may seem significant, the yearly financial need is still greater than can be covered by any one fundraiser. “We usually have two or three dogs and cats per year that require surgery. Surgeries can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the nature,” Bowler-Veltman explained.
“In the grand scheme of things, this was a pretty big fundraiser to have made $4,200, but that might only cover one animal if they need a big surgery,” she said. “We want something that’s going to bring in bigger amounts.”
“Right now, we’re not very well known. That’s why we’ve been doing a lot of smaller fundraisers to see who our supporters are, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
GEARS’ next fundraiser, Beers for GEARS, will be held on Apr. 1, at The Canadian Brewhouse on Ellerslie Road, and will include one free drink for participants, as well as a silent auction and 50/50 draw. For more information about this event and other ways to get involved, check out GEARS’ facebook page and website.
Cover image courtesy of Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society – GEARS.