Featured Big Hearted Gamer: Ryan Volker

We support the gamers who play games and volunteer for charity. BigHeartedGamers.com wants to recognize people who support their communities, locally or at large.

What was the game that turned you into a gamer?

“I’ve been an arcade junkie from the earliest. I think the games that turned me into a gamer though would probably be, GTA II, Duke Nukem 1 and 2, Final Fight, and AD&D. The Duke Nukem games were probably my first gaming marathon. I just couldn’t put that controller down until it was done. GTA, Final Fight and AD&D are on that list not so much for the games themselves, but for the close gamer friends that I played them with. Oh, and I guess by sheer dollars invested into it and time spent in seedy comic shops, I have to add Magic: The Gathering onto the list.”

What video game charities do you play or volunteer for?

“I’ve done Extra Life, raising money for Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital for 3 years now, and have had a total blast with it. I also try to support Humble Bundle as often as possible. I’d say 90% of the games in my steam library are from Humble Bundle.”

What made you decide to play for charity?

“As soon as I heard about Extra Life, I was hooked. To me, Extra Life represents something that is a fundamental truth. We all have the power to do good in the world. Very often, it does not take a large act of heroism to become a hero in someone’s life. You don’t have to be rich to be a philanthropist. You don’t need to run 26 miles to do a marathon. Each and every person in this world has the power to improve the lives of those around them, simply by choosing to make an effort to do so. I play games, I can play games and do it #FORTHEKIDS.”

How do you promote your campaigns?

“I typically promote via social media, through family and co-workers. Persistence is the key. Keep spreading the word as far as you can, and let those that see it know what it means to you.”

What are some of your most rewarding experiences in gaming for charity?

“The first year I did Extra Life, a friend of mine named Jason also got involved to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. As soon as the event was over, Jason was talking about how much he wanted to do it again next year, and how we could raise more money, how we could get more people involved. Tragically, Jason was involved in a car accident later that year that ended his life. I feel that it is important that I try to keep Jason’s momentum going. I could not do it without the support of my friends and family. This year, I have several friends who are involved, and are going to be playing along side me and raising money. Being able to share this experience with them makes this truly awesome.”

Is there anything else we should know about you in regards to being a “Big Hearted” Gamer?

“Uh, are shameless plugs allowed? Go to www.extra-life.org to sign up or to donate. Already signed up, and looking to see how you can get more involved, check out the Guild Directory to find a Extra Life guild in your area.

Thank you Ryan! You can support Ryan and his endeavors with Extra Life on his participant page. Are you a Big Hearted Gamer? We would love to hear from you! Strike up a conversation with @bigheartedgamer on Twitter.

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