Will Ferrell Calls On Gamers to Launch Cancer Assault

Will Ferrell wants gamers to put some of their adrenaline -- and cash -- toward the fight against cancer. A supporter of Cancer for College, which provides scholarships to cancer survivors, Ferrell has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $375,000 -- $10 at a time. Contributors automatically get a shot at winning a trip to San Francisco to play games with Ferrell in a webcast event.

Comedian Will Ferrell on Wednesday announced an effort to battle cancer by giving gamers a chance to participate in a two-hour gaming event with him in San Francisco.

Launched on Indiegogo, the initiative aims to raise US$375,000 for nonprofit organizations Cancer for College and DonateGames, by encouraging gamers to contribute at least $10.

One randomly selected giver will win an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco, including the opportunity to play games with Ferrell on Oct. 26.

Cancer for College provides scholarships to cancer survivors. The funds raised through this latest effort will allow it to offer 150 new scholarships for cancer survivors.

‘Watch in Awe’

“Our two-hour gaming extravaganza will be live broadcasted on Twitch for the world to watch, allowing everybody to watch in awe as I, Will Ferrell, show off my gaming skills and crack jokes with fellow top gamers and surprise guests!” Ferrell said.

Also available are a variety of other perks, prizes and giveaways, he said, including a tube of Will Ferrell’s SuperMegaUVBlastMax Gamer’s Sunscreen, apparel, and a signed XBox 360 controller.

Open to those 13 and older within the 50 United States, the contest ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on Oct. 12.

‘Game to Give It a Chance’

“The reason Will did this is he’s a great guy and a supporter of Cancer for College,” Craig Pollard, Cancer for College’s executive director, told TechNewsWorld.

Pollard, a cancer survivor himself, was a fraternity brother with Ferrell at the University of Southern California; the two have known each other since they were 19 years old. Ferrell now serves on Cancer for College’s board of directors and is often the person who makes the call to notify scholarship winners of their successful status.

“If it’s something he thinks is worthwhile, he’s game to give it a chance,” Pollard said.

Games Do Good

Ferrell has three sons, and all three are gamers — as is Ferrell himself, Pollard noted.

“We talked about what demographics are we not speaking to with our charity,” Pollard recalled.

“I played videogames while going through chemo,” he said. “I was explaining to Will that a lot of oncology wings have games to help kids to keep their minds off the chemo.”

Videogames “can have a bad connotation — but in reality there’s a lot of good out there with them,” Pollard pointed out.

Larger Trend

Ferrell’s effort brought to mind the recently popular Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, Lewis Ward, IDC’s research director for gaming, told TechNewsWorld.

“When I see things like this, it brings to mind the idea of celebrities helping to raise funding for charities through public acts of dorkiness,” he said.

As for this effort’s focus on the gaming community, “I think because gamers tend to be tech-savvy and are online often, they’re probably more likely than other demographic groups for this kind of online fundraising,” Ward speculated.

“This is probably going to be a huge hit after the fact on YouTube and elsewhere,” he predicted. “I suspect this isn’t the last time we’ll see something like this — I think it will probably be part of a larger trend.”

Fame for Charity

Indeed, “I think anyone using their fame for charity is great,” Ted Pollak, a senior analyst for the gaming industry with Jon Peddie Research, told TechNewsWorld.

“If the famous person has a hobby where they can connect with the fans of that hobby, it becomes more personalized,” Pollak added. “Whether it is a charity golf tournament or something like this, chances are enthusiasts will pay more attention.”

Katherine Noyes has been reporting on business and technology for decades. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

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