Gamers come together to aid cancer research

Ben Peterson, senior in materials science, and David Polly, junior in nursing, play Starcraft during the Frag for a Cure event in the UC Down Under on Friday on April 24, 2012.

Some students play intramural sports; some work in research labs. And some students sit and play video games for hours on end.

For those gamers on campus, the opportunity has finally come to put their video game prowess to good use raising money for St. Jude's Hospital at Saturday's "Play for a Cure" event in the UC Down Under.

Josh Campbell, a senior in mathematics, organized "Frag for a Cure," the event's predecessor, last April. The goal was to gather gaming students for the benefit of St. Jude's Hospital. This year, the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), East Area Housing Residence Halls and the League of Legends Club came together to host the event again, this time with the name "Play for a Cure."

"Our goal for 'Frag for a Cure' and 'Play for a Cure' is the same," Campbell said. "We want to unite people with common interests to benefit children and their families."

"Play for a Cure" will have tournaments of ping pong, bowling, "League of Legends," "Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm" and "Super Smash Brothers Brawl."

"We're just looking to get as many people as we can just to raise money and awareness for a good cause," Campbell said.

In addition to the satisfaction of raising money for a good cause, participants have the opportunity to win various prizes in the tournaments. Prizes have been donated from restaurants, companies and places around campus.

Last year's similar event raised more than $350 and had 70 people participate. Campbell hopes to see that number increase due to the greater variety of events.

"We diversified this year's events to try and draw people from different blocks of life," Campbell said on the addition of bowling and ping pong.

Tanner Zerick, a sophomore in English, got involved through the "League of Legends" Club. He said he was excited to offer his talents to St. Jude's, a pediatric research hospital that was ranked the No. 1 children's cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report in 2010.

"I spend a lot of my time playing video games, and it's refreshing to know this time will be well-spent," Zerick said.

To participate in the "Play for a Cure" tournament, students must register in advance and pay $5 per person per event.

Registration locations include Gibbs Hall, Massey Hall, Volunteer Hall, Apartment Residence Hall and Laurel Apartments all day today. For late registration, students may sign up at the UC Down Under on Saturday from 11 to 11:30 a.m. The tournament begins at noon.

Campbell, as a graduating senior, hopes to see this event return next year.

"We want to grow the event and have it a staple on campus for more than just two years," Campbell said. "It's a great cause and a good break from the monotony of classes."

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