Extra Life International Changes
Posted by Jeromy (Doc)
My name is Jeromy Adams, sometimes known as Doc, and I have the privilege of leading Team Extra Life here at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Today I'm bringing you an update on some changes that we're making with regards to how funds are disbursed for Extra Lifers outside the United States and Canada who wish to participate in Extra Life to help kids outside of North America.
Since I founded Extra Life in 2008 with the help of the Sarcastic Gamer community, in memory of the late Victoria Jo Enmon (Tori), Extra Life has always been an international affair. Even before Tori passed away gamers from all corners of the world were sending notes and gifts to ease her stay in the hospital. It was this generosity that inspired me most in the months after Tori's death, and gave me the certainty that Extra Life would work to not only serve Tori's legacy, but to generate hope for kids all over the world.
Since those first years of Extra Life, when all gamers were playing for one hospital, Extra Life has grown to include more than 170 member hospitals in North America. In 2010 we also added a small roster of hospitals in the UK and Australia who were former members of Children's Miracle Network during the organization's tenure as a registered charity in those countries.
This past year I was informed that we could no longer actively fundraise outside of the United States and Canada. The UK and Australia both have very clear laws regarding non-profit organizations and their ability to fundraise in those countries. To boil it down, we are not allowed to raise money for hospitals in those countries, without becoming a registered charity in those countries, a process that is, to say the least, extremely daunting, expensive, and time-consuming.
This is why those hospitals no longer appear as options for Extra Life players. Local laws in those countries say that we can no longer do so.
This presented a problem for Team Extra Life, as no one wanted to see these important international Extra Life players told that they could no longer participate in Extra Life to benefit kids on their respective sides of the world. We investigated licensing Extra Life to charities in those countries, a proposition that also proved to not only be very expensive and time-consuming, but also, and more importantly, would divide the united Extra Life Community by country, something that we are not willing to consider. We are Extra Life. We are one.
It was on a recent tour of Boston Children's Hospital that the idea for what I am sharing with you today first came to me. My colleague at BCH was explaining how many kids from over 100 countries are brought to their hospital for life-saving treatment and that in many cases their families can't even begin to afford sending their child overseas to the United States for treatment. A little more digging and I found out that SickKids in Toronto treats thousands of kids from all over the world, as does Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. These are just three of many North American hospitals with a huge outreach for kids from all over the world.
There was a way, after all, for Extra Lifers to participate and get the same satisfaction other Extra Lifers get, knowing their fundraising efforts will benefit kids close to where they live.
This year, we are adding 3 new choices listed when you pick your hospital for Extra Life 2013. Selecting any of these options will ensure that you are funding only the international efforts at these outstanding hospitals. They can be found at the bottom of the hospital selection list and are prefixed with "INT'L":
- INT'L Boston Children's - in Boston, Mass.
- INT'L SickKids - in Toronto, Ontario
- INT'L Children’s National Medical Center - in Washington, D.C.
If you’d like to learn more about these hospitals before selecting one to support, here are links to their respective websites.
By selecting these special options, you will be ensuring that you want the funds that you raise to help to fund international efforts, and those funds will be directed accordingly within their hospitals.
We hope to add more choices for Extra Lifers outside North America both in 2013 and beyond. Until we do so, we always appreciate your frank and honest feedback and ideas. Please understand that Team Extra Life remains committed to growing and enhancing the Extra Life experience for ALL PLAYERS regardless of borders or language.
I understand and respect that this will require you to explain in greater detail than you previously needed to your potential donors. Please feel free to direct any questions that you receive to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org .
On a related note, this year we have added French language support to Extra Life's current roster of English and Spanish.
Thank you so much for your patience during this time of change. Extra Lifers, most likely due to the perspective that they gain from the kids we all work to help, are the most understanding community anywhere, and we love you for it.
Thanks you, friends -Doc