DePaul University’s first ever 24-hour gaming marathon raises $1500 for Extra Life, Lurie’s Children’s Hospital


Lucas Paredes

DePaul Esports raised over $1500 for Extra Life Chicago over the course of their 24-hour gaming marathon.

Tucked away in the DePaul Center underneath a Dunkin’ Donuts and Sbarro’s pizzeria, a mix of talking and mechanical clicking filled the big space this weekend that housed countless screens, gaming systems and people all dedicated to the same cause: playing games. 

DePaul Esports and DeFrag collaborated with Extra Life Chicago to bring DePaul a 24-hour gaming marathon that took place from Feb. 4 to Feb. 5 starting at 5 p.m. The event featured tournaments, movies, raffles, prizes and a variety of games. Admission to the event was free for all DePaul students, however extra incentives were offered to those who donated. 

The whole 24 hours was focused on gaming, hanging out and fundraising for Extra Life Chicago. 

“We are raising money for Extra Life Chicago which is a philanthropic gaming organization that essentially raises money for Lurie’s Children Hospital,” said DePaul Esports Coordinator Stephen Wilke. “We also do DemonThon which is a dance marathon at DePaul which raises money for the same cause.” 

Extra Life uses donations to locally fund critical treatments, healthcare services, medical equipment and charitable care. 

Extra Life received donations through its site page or in-person through three different donation packages, each priced with increments of $15. The donation packages each gave a different number of tickets which were used for prize raffles throughout the night. The 24-hour marathon raised $1500 for Extra Life.

“We love the charitable cause that this event is for,” said Vice President of DeFrag Beckett Anderhous-Custer. “We’re huge fans of Extra Life and the work they do. A few months ago, DeFrag, a premiere gaming organization of DePaul, started conversations with DePaul Esports to collaborate for this event with Extra Life. I’m just so thankful to everyone for coming and supporting the event. We’ve still remained as a university-wide hub for people who enjoy video games.”

The marathon featured many different games and scheduled events. There were tournaments, challenges, late night movies, prize raffles and a cosplay contest. People played games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Overwatch 2, Mario Party and FIFA 23 while waiting for some of the many scheduled events to start. While others played Dungeons & Dragons in a different room. 

Once the clock hit 11:30 p.m., attendees had the choice of being locked into the DePaul Center overnight or leaving and returning the next day.

“I’m tired as hell, though I know some people didn’t want to stay for the lock-in at 11:30,” said DePaul freshman Lucas Wall. “Overnight we played Mario Party, had some tournaments. Other than that, we played other games, and some people were watching the new Pinocchio. A lot of people napped. There were 34 to 35 people total here that stayed overnight. I really like the Mario Strikers tournament, there was such high energy and the guy commentating the tournament was so much fun.”

Students received meals throughout the gaming marathon and were told to bring sleeping bags and/or blankets if they were staying overnight through the lock-in. The next morning some students were sleeping, and others were talking or playing games. 

DePaul Esports’ 24-hour livestream on Twitch accompanied the 24-hour gaming marathon. It was projected on a big screen for people to watch or check out how much the event raised at the time. 

“At the Loop Gaming Center, we have a huge focus on making this a very inviting and safe community,” said Wilke. “It’s not just competitive gaming, we have single-player games, we’ve got more casual games. At an event like this we just want to make sure that everyone knows that they are welcome here.”