It’s a nifty position being a streamer and someone who works in influencer relations at Sandbox Strategies. No matter how casual a streamer you are (and I’m as casual as they come), doors open and life-changing opportunities present themselves. And it’s great bringing the added perspective of working in gaming PR to these opportunities.
Last week, I visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis for the 3rd time. The event was the St. Jude PLAY LIVE Summit – a gathering of content creators to learn about the organization, patients, staff, research, and technology, and then organize for a month-long charity campaign – through streaming! – in May. I remember the first time I attended the Summit 3 years ago, and there were only about 20 of us. This year, over 160 creators were at St. Jude and the hype was immense.
Every time I visit St. Jude, I’m an emotional mess. There’s a lot of ugly crying – it’s not pretty. But if anything’s going to open those floodgates, it’s meeting those brave children battling cancer, battling for their lives. It’s a truly humbling and transformative experience to walk the halls of the hospital and research facilities at St. Jude, seeing the patient art adorning the walls, passing by laughing (yes, laughing) patients and hopeful family members, and meeting the exceptional staff. Everyone from the doctors to researchers to cafeteria staff to the guy who admits cars into the parking lot is a beacon of positivity. St. Jude is unlike any hospital you’ll ever see. Despite the deep hardships housed within the facility, St. Jude is a place of hope.
The story behind St. Jude’s origin is pretty inspirational (here’s a quick summary), but the most amazing thing is that no patient or their family ever sees a bill for treatment. Families are flown in and stay in arranged accommodations; all 8,000+ patients per year are provided with the most advanced treatment available, continued schooling, life counselors, therapists, and more – all without costing them a dime.
Which leads to why all these creators and streamers were there and why we’re raising money through our passion for gaming and streaming. Throughout the month of May, we gather as many comrades as we can to fundraise for St. Jude PLAY LIVE (mostly through making fools of ourselves for our audiences), aiming to exceed our goal of $1,000,000. We’ve already raised over a third of that and it’s only day 3. If anyone doubts the power of creators, this is proof that we can absolutely have a strong positive impact on something bigger than just video games.