How the Fandoms Give Back to Reality

Last week we had a guest speaker come to class and she spoke to us about a group called Run Now Relay. After the Boston bombing happened in 2014, 26 runners ran from Cleveland Tennessee all the way up to Boston Massachusetts to deliver money to a charity. It took 8 days to cross 1,000 miles and 72 cities, but along the way they raised $50,000 more to donate through the use of social media.

Now, this got me thinking. There’s a race or event for everything. EVERYTHING. Surely there had to be some geek races or events out there to raise money for charity right? So, I did my research and I am very happy to say that I found some. This post will be about different charity events, races, and people who make difference using our geek language.

(Links to all of the charities will be provided below. Also, these are just four geek charity events. They are not the only geek charity events, there are plenty more out there.)

  • Course of the Force

“Course of the Force is a Star Wars themed relay race founded  in 2012, is a partnership between Lucasfilm, Nerdist Industries, Machinima and Octagon (Sports Agency). The partnership’s primary event is an Olympic-style lightsaber relay along the California coast. The relay, held July 7–11, 2012 (the days leading up to the San Diego Comic Con), is a charity event to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Nerdist Industries founder Chris Hardwick will host the event, with broadcasts on the Nerdist YouTube channel. Machinma has announced it will produce Course of the Force content for its network as well. Running spots are available to the general public. The cost to sign up is $500.  A limited edition Star Wars Ultimate FX lightsaber has been announced for the participants.

Participants will travel from Santa Monica to San Diego in quarter-mile increments, handing off a lightsaber to the next runner. 100% of registration proceeds from Course of the Force benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation chapters of Greater Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire, and San Diego” (Wiki)

  • Red Nose Day

“Since its launch in 1988, Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution. It’s the day, every two years, when people across the land can get together and do something funny for money at home, school and work. There’s a fantastic night of TV on the BBC, with comedy and entertainment, like special TV minisodes of shows like Doctor Who and Downtown Abbey, to inspire the nation to give generously. Comic Relief spends the money raised by Red Nose Day to help people living tough lives across the UK and Africa.

Comic Relief-inspired events have spread across the globe, licensed and run by people that share a similar vision of ‘A Just World Free from Poverty’. From Iceland to South Africa, events based on Red Nose Day and Sport Relief have popped up all over the place. Red Nose Day is coming to America May 21st, 2015.” (comicrelief.com)

  • Child’s Play

“Child’s Play seeks to improve the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters through the generosity and kindness of the video game industry and the power of play.

Since 2003, we’ve set up and organized Child’s Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 70 hospitals worldwide. Over the years, you as a community have answered the call and come together to raise millions of dollars.

Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

Our hospital network program provides an Amazon.com wishlist (to which facilities can make requests) and an annual gift of games, consoles, and other age-appropriate entertainment gifts for kids. These gifts provide vital distraction, engagement, socialization, and positive play opportunities for hospitalized children around the world.” (childsplaycharity.org)

  • Cloud City Garrison

“Cloud City Garrison is a chapter of The 501st Legion of Stormtroopers, a Star Wars Imperial costuming club. The 501st is dedicated to the movie-quality costumes of the “villains” of the Star Wars universe. Cloud City Garrison covers all of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

In addition to providing a network for fans to meet, CCG is committed to the community. We offer support at charity events, fund raisers, and social functions by appearing as film-authentic Star Wars characters. While there is no cost to engage our services, we encourage donations to charity on our behalf instead.” (cloudcitygarrison.com)

They put in so much time and effort between walk-a-thons, blood drives, spending afternoons with special needs children, and so much more. They don’t accept payment for showing up, they only ask that you give to one of the charities that they support.

Here’s a list of the charities that they are heavily involved in:

  • Make-A-Wish Oregon
  • Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
  • Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation
  • Special Olympics
  • The Salvation Army’s Bell Ringing program
  • Toys for Tots
  • Children’s Miracle Network

It really makes me happy to see both big and small groups of geeks raising money and making a difference in the world around them. As I said, the links to all these charities are below and I encourage you to check them out if you feel so inclined to. That’s all I have for now, but I hope you guys have a wonderful day!

http://nerdist.com/tag/course-of-the-force/ ; http://www.comicrelief.com/rednosedayhttp://www.childsplaycharity.org/ ; http://www.cloudcitygarrison.com/ )

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