Thursday, July 18, 2024
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ESA Winter 2024 raises over $85k for Make-A-Wish

Last week was ESA (European Speedrunner Assembly) Winter 2024, an esports event where players speed through video games to raise money for charity, such as Make-A-Wish International. The ESA has been around and helping others since its inception in 2012, and altogether, have collectively raised over one million dollars for various charitable causes.

Held in Malmö, Sweden, the biannual event often brings in a variety of both viewers and participants from all over the world. This time around, the event gathered over 400 participants, and altogether, raised over $85,000 US dollars for Make-A-Wish International.

Make-A-Wish is an organization dedicated to fulfilling wishes for children living with critical illnesses. They’ve been working hard to help support children for 44 years now, and looks to do more and more each year to support children across the globe.

This year, ESA Winter 2024 made it so that both onsite and online audiences had the opportunity to help raise funds for the charity fundraiser. For example, in a race to assemble flat-pack furniture (aka, the bane of everyne’s existence), audience members were given the choice to make the assemble process much more difficult by donating $25 to enforce restrictions on players. These difficulties ranged from being able to build with just one hand, or without using tools at all. Over $7,200 was raised in a little over 2 hours!

Other games and opportunities that stood out was audiences making games like Sonic the Hedgehog harder through various modifications.

“We are delighted to announce our new partnership with Make-A-Wish International. ESA Winter is a festival where gamers and the community unite. Through videogames and speed, we level up to raise funds for children suffering from critical illnesses.” Ida Lidholt, one of the ESA organizers said. “We are so proud to announce a total of $85,000 raised to help grant wishes. We are so grateful to our gamers and the community for uniting behind this very worthy cause.”

Already ESA’s donations have been used to help grant wishes to eligible children. One child, a girl in Denmark named Naja, wished to spend Christmas in a warm and sunny place with the rest of her family. In previous years she was unable to do so, as in 2020 she lost her grandmother to cancer and during Christmas 2022 Naja was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Thanks to ESA’s donations this year, things will be different and her wish will come true.

“Children undergoing treatment for critical illness can experience anxiety, loss of hope, and isolation from friends and loved ones. For many of these children, gaming offers them a sense of escape, helps them connect with friends and distracts them from their long and often difficult treatment journeys.” Luciano Manzo, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish International stated. “That’s why gaming and entertainment wishes are so popular among wish children. The funds raised from ESA Winter 2024 will help continue to grant these types of wishes and many others. We are so grateful to ESA and the gaming community for helping make wishes come true with this event.”

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