The Vermont Extra Life event will take place at Tilt Classic Arcade and Ale House in South Burlington from 8 a.m., Saturday, October 25, to 8 a.m., Sunday, October 26. Want to get involved? Sign up to participate and/or donate here

Nathan with his Extra Life team!

Nathan with his Extra Life team!

Extra Life is an annual fundraising event in which thousands of gamers throughout the country raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, culminating in a 24-hour Game-a-thon. This year’s game day is October 25.

Extra Life has special meaning to me: in my freshman year of high school, I was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. During my treatment, I spent thousands of hours in the care of the The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the University of Vermont Medical Center.

Video games gave me a way to escape from the pain of my treatment into another world. I was able to become another person in another place — if only for a short time. This small degree of separation from reality allowed me to make it through my years of treatment. I was rarely seen at the hospital without my Xbox. The doctors and nurses would often have to climb over and around the cords of my controller in order to give me my treatments, but they never once complained.

Gaming also became my primary source of social interaction, being sick I was unable to play sports or go to events like many of my friends. When I was in isolation due to low white blood cell counts, I was still able to play with and talk to my friends over the internet through our games.

Years after my treatments had concluded I came across the Extra-Life campaign through an Internet community called Roosterteeth. I immediately knew this was the perfect cause for me, combining my love for gaming with my desire to give back to those who had given me so much, I couldn’t think of a more perfect combination.

The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital does amazing work not only treating children’s illness, but also ensuring their mental wellbeing. From providing counseling and taking the time to make sure the child truly understands what is happening, to providing them with a movie or game to allow them to escape into another world as I did so many times.

Since my time on Baird 5 many things have changed, some due in part to donations received from Children’s Miracle Network. The money raised by Extra-Life helps to fund these support structures, which are so important to a child’s recovery, and allow them to purchase equipment that may otherwise be unobtainable. 

I have now been presented with the amazing privilege of representing the University of Vermont Medical Center at Extra-Life United in Orlando, Florida, where I will meet with other Extra-Lifers from across the country, and take part in an E-Sports Tournament for a portion of a $50,000 Prize for the Children’s Hospital. I am truly honored to represent such an amazing group of people here at the UVM Medical Center. Thank you for all you do.

Nathan T. Bachand, NRAEMT, is both a career and volunteer firefighter/AEMT with IBM Emergency Services and the St. Albans Town Fire Department as well as an avid gamer.

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