While the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs rage on, some regional rivalries burn hotter than ever. But even so, some Cascadia supporters are still coming together this week on a passion project that transcends sports.
“I think it is safe to assume that every supporter,” says Glenn White, a longtime Emerald City supporter in Seattle, “believes that kids are more important than a rivalry.”
The Cascadia rivalry – among the Seattle Sounders, the Portland Timbers, and the Vancouver Whitecaps — is arguably the most intense in MLS. We’ve seen rival chants, social media bashing, and more.
But this Sat., Nov. 4, a group of fans will channel that intensity and passion into a charitable effort, a 24-hour game-a-thon to fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Together, supporters from the three cities have joined forces to create the “Cascadian Gamers,” who will compete in a fundraising marathon through Extra Life.
That effort unites gamers worldwide in a fundraising marathon, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support children’s hospitals. For the Cascadian Gamers, all money raised will go to children’s hospitals in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. “These hospitals only charges what people can pay, so they rely heavily on donations,” says White, “so we are pretty serious about it.”
White got the idea to organize a project to benefit such hospitals after his goddaughter went into undiagnosed Type 1 diabetic shock. “She was probably 30, 15 minutes away from dying,” he recalls, “and Seattle Children’s Hospital literally saved her life.”
The fundraising began with just a few Sounders fans in 2015, but then morphed the following year into a three-way effort between groups that rarely team up for much. “It turns out when you work together you raise a lot more money,” says White.
In fact, thanks to donations and raffles from players (such as the Timbers' Diego Valeri and the Sounders' Stefan Frei), clubs, and individuals, the Cascadian Gamers say they were last years' largest non-corporate-sponsored fundraising group in North America. They expect this year’s event to far surpass the $37,000 raised last year.
Glenn and the Cascadian gamers will play various titles for 24 hours straight from a location in Seattle, with other volunteers manning food, social media, and packing and shipping prizes for donors. Other gamers will also join in remotely from throughout Cascadia. To raise extra money, as well, Diego Valeri will also be donating some personal and autographed items, including several of those famous Timbers post-goal log slices.
“For this [soccer] rivalry to be healthy, to continue to grow, you need to make sure there are kids picking up the banners after,” says White. “So we need to make sure kids are getting the best care in our communities.”
How can I help (and get the chance to win some once-in-a-lifetime MLS gear)?
What are some of the prizes up for grabs for donating?
• MLS ALL-Star signed jersey
• Stefan Frei MLS All-Star goalkeeper jersey (four produced, 2 to Howard, 2 to Frei)
• Team-signed log (donated by Diego Valeri)
• Davide Chiumiento-signed jersey
• Kendall Waston-signed captain armband
• game-worn NHL jerseys
• player-signed copy of EA SPORTS FIFA 18
• rare Timbers Army scarves
• NWSL Thorns signed championship scarf
Want to tune in to the game-a-thon?