About five years ago, Jim Carol’s son, Taylor, was diagnosed with two types of rare pediatric cancers at the tender age of 11.
“He was diagnosed as terminal, and there are no known survivors of what he had,” Jim says. “He was in isolation for a year, and received a bone marrow transplant. Now he’s a senior in high school and just got admitted into Harvard!”
Jim, an award-winning entrepreneur in the technology industry, felt very blessed and compelled to give back to the community. Compelled by the kindness of strangers his family received through the difficult times, Jim created a nonprofit called Donate Games with the sole mission of easing the pain of any child suffering a life-threatening illness by gifting them donated video games and gear.
To date, Donate Games has distributed over 20,000 games and sets of gear to families, and donated over $300,000 in research funding for different types of childhood illnesses, including Progeria, Rett Syndrome, and Cystic Fibrosis.
In fact, with the help of Donate Games, Progeria research had a breakthrough.
Why Video Games?
With a strong background in the tech field, Jim saw a natural opportunity for a social enterprise in the gaming industry to give back to families of sick children.
“Video games are so important to kids who are hospitalized,” he says. “I also saw many homes with old video games, so I started collecting and recycling them. It’s a gritty elbow-grease way to create a social enterprise with little overhead to primarily fund research.”
In Tustin, CA, there’s a warehouse full of games and volunteers who are cleaning, refurbishing, and packing up the donated games to send off to families. It’s had a strong start, and many heartwarming stories of how families were gifted electronics to bring a soft touch to their struggles.
Donate Games will soon be making a soft-launch of its new online platform, Game Changer, that will help make it easier for people to donate old electronics for this cause. This afternoon, they’re kicking off with a 12-hour online gaming livestream fundraiser headed up by a volunteer named Zac Dorsett.
Gaming Marathon for Good
Zac became acquainted with Donate Games through his wife. Working in the nonprofit field and being a big-time gamer himself, Zac got in touch with Jim, and offered to help the cause.
“I saw a disconnect between charity fundraising and gaming,” Zac says. “I follow pro-gaming teams, and have been to some of the big gaming events where the prize pool was monstrous—$2 million—with hundreds of thousands of fans. I realized there’s a huge amount of untapped human capital in that arena.”
Online gaming is very popular worldwide, and livestream competitions attract thousands of viewers. League of Legends, for example, has over 10 million players, placing it in the top most popular games in the world.
Seeing a potential opportunity for collaboration, Zac reached out to some of the professional playing League of Legends teams, and immediately received a positive response from a member of Team Curse. Starting at 12PM PST (3PM EST) today (Friday, December 14), Team Curse will livestream as they play League of Legends for 12 straight hours. Zac expects an online viewership of 10,000-15,000, and hopes to raise thousands for Donate Games.
The purpose of this afternoon’s gaming marathon is to spread awareness of Game Changer in hopes of attracting more donations of new and used electronics.
“I’m focused on getting more online gaming fundraising events,” says Zac. “Next year, I hope we can do between six and twelve events with different gaming communities.”
For more information about today’s event and to donate funds, click here. You can also visit their Mightycause Fundraising Page directly at this link. And for more information on how to donate a used electronics, visit the Game Changer website.
“Game Changer is a great example of what charity really is: the kindness of strangers,” says Jim. “The kindness of strangers saved my son’s life.”
Taylor is a happy and tremendously talented 17 year-old. His amazing voice has gotten him to sing the national anthem at Angels’ stadium and sing alongside actor Will Ferrell! Check out the funny video below.