Good Neighbors: Gamers for Cures

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ~ Mr. Rogers

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ~ Mr. Rogers
How you respond when your world changes says a lot about you as a person. In 2008 Dan Patriss’s daughter was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome. In the past ten years he’s gone from knowing almost nothing condition to raising over $115,000 for Turners Syndrome research and awareness.

What was the catalyst that brought about Gamers for Cures?
My Daughter was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome about 9-10 years ago and even though I am a pharmacist, I knew very little about it, and neither did any of her doctors outside of the endocrinologist. So I knew that there needed to be more information and more awareness for diagnosis and treatment of TS. And I have been a gamer of all types for quite a long time, but I had been quite active in the hobby board gaming community for a while, having a Board Gaming Podcast (The Geek Allstars Podcast). And around that time (~ 2011) I knew plenty of people who did Extra Life for video gaming, but no one did board gaming marathons for charity. Since board gamers are always looking for an excuse to game more I decided to create a charity event around playing board games for 24 hours. And thus in 2011 Gamers for Cures was born.

What is Turner Syndrome?
The short answer, which I often give… Turner Syndrome (TS) is a chromosomal condition that describes girls and women with common features that are caused by complete or partial absence of the second sex chromosome. Common problems include short stature, premature ovarian failure, thyroid problems, and heart and kidney abnormalities. TS occurs in approximately 1 of every 2,000 live female births and is responsible for as many as 10% of all miscarriages

How do you help the community?
We do an annual event each year, The Gamers for Cures 24 hour Board Game Marathon to benefit Turner Syndrome Society of US and Carolina’s. We raise the money for those organizations to help them put on CE (continuing education) for nurses,doctors and other health care providers. These center on the diagnosis and treatment of TS. Also we have been able to educate our local community during the event about TS.

Whats your next event?  
The 2018 Gamers for Cures event will be on 11-10-2018 at the Gamers Armory in Cary NC. Keep an eye on the website for more info as it becomes available and how you can help donate to a great cause!You can also make a tax free donation to help out our cause! We will also have links to raffles you can even buy online, to win games or even bigger prizes such as gift cards and a flat screen TV! The links will be on our site as the prizes and raffles get finalized.

Whats the format of the marathon?
We do a 24 hour Board Game Marathon on 2nd sat of every Nov. 8am sat to 8am sunday. We have 50 players who donate money to play for the whole 24 hours. And then we also have some people who will donate just to be an “overnighter”. So the marathoners get access to the store at 8am (And opens for regular public either 10 or 11 am) and also a Swag Bag (with games) a few raffles and 3 meals provided by us (by sponsors).  Once around 12 midnight hits we close the store to all the public except the marathoners and those who have purchased an overnight badge.  During the day we have raffles, silent auctions, and tons of open free gaming. Anyone can come off the street and play but it’s a charity event so often people will buy tickets to our raffle wall and also some of our big ticket raffles (non gaming items).

What does the future look like for the event? Any plans to change/expand/etc?  
I have hoped to do the same event for a long long time. It’s very comfortable, people love it, and it’s raised over $150,000 to date. But I think there will be circumstances which will lead us to find another venue next year. So in off season we will have to assess what the future will bring for our Event, as to where to hold it and what kind of events. We could find a new store, find a hall (Like a VFW hall), or turn it into a mini convention at a hotel and still give a good amount of money to charity. But all of that will be something we tackle after we get 2018’s event in the books!

Have people been receptive to the idea?
The first year, as with many charity events, was slow but as the word got out about the event more and more people wanted to help out and be a part of it. To date we have raised just over $115,000 for TSSUS/Carolinas. The game store we hold the event at is always extremely busy and people tell us they look forward to this event each and every year!

Why do you think gaming and community service is a good fit?
Well, the board gaming community as a whole is extremely inviting to all people. We are always open to new people to sit down and play and get to know each other no matter who they are and what their background is. So helping others is a natural fit for people to extend this openness to others. Gamers always seem to want to do good, and the right thing, we often don’t know how to go about it. And that’s why as leaders of the community it’s up to us to lead by example and show people we ALL can help the greater good.