Competitive VR esports team Cobra Kai is hosting the All Valley Onward Charity Tournament on Saturday, April 3 to raise money for Hugs Children’s Cancer Charity, a not-for-profit foundation that supports families battling childhood cancer.

Events such as this remind us that gamers are interested and involved in endeavors that positively affect the world around them and we all have an opportunity to be part of that, whether through playing, making donations, watching charity tournaments online, or spreading news of these events.

Gaming for Good

Hosted by Cobra Kai, a competitive VR esports team that plays in Onward VR Master League (VRML), the All-Valley Charity Tournament to benefit Hugs Children’s Cancer Charity is divided into two divisions, Brawlers and Street Fighters.

Brawlers division consists of newcomers to the competitive Onward scene and Street Fighters division is made up of veteran teams who have been in VRML, a community-driven platform that supports competitive VR games. Tournament participants aren’t required to be members of VRML and they can play Downpour Interactive’s Onward, a multiplayer mil-sim first-person shooter build from the ground up for virtual reality, on a variety of headsets.

Teams are required to make a $50 donation to Hugs Children’s Cancer Charity in order to participate in the event. While this might seem strange in VR esports, where most events are still free-to-participate and are likely to remain that way, charity events are a bit different.

Charity sports events have a long history and are relatively common, with some of the most lucrative being golf fundraisers, which generate over $4 billion for charitable causes in the US each year. Gamers also contribute increasing amounts of money to charitable causes through live streaming sites like Twitch, which raised $55 million (£43m) in 2019 alone via gaming streams.

VR gamers are becoming more involved with charity fundraising as well. My first experience with fundraising in VR was in 2017, when I spent over 24 hours in an Oculus Rift headset raising money for Extra Life, a non-profit that encourages children stuck in hospital settings by providing access to games. Charitable events have continued and this past fall Ready At Dawn’s Echo VR players participated in the Arena Charity Cup to benefit Gamers Outreach, another non-profit that provides equipment, technology, and software to help children cope with treatment while in hospital.

Hugs Children’s Cancer Charity

Hugs from Henry was set up by the Hallam family after their son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rapidly-spreading and difficult to treat cancer. Henry had just turned three-years-old when he began to complain of leg pain, had a fever, and looked pale. Although doctors explained the symptoms as a virus, Henry’s parents knew there was something more going on with their son so they insisted on further medical attention.

Once they found a doctor who would listen to their concerns, scans showed that Henry had many tumors in his head, a crumbled vertebrae and an eroded rib. Henry was rushed 120 miles away to Bristol, England and over the next several days the family discovered that he had cancer in his liver, bone marrow, all his bones apart from his hands and feet, and a large tumor to his left adrenal gland.

The news was devastating and the Hallam family made a vow to help other families by providing emotional support so they know they aren’t in the battle alone and financial support to help with bills or pay for a special holiday that gives the family an opportunity to create treasured memories. The foundation also supports research for more effective treatments of Neuroblastoma.

Henry beat the odds and he survived his battle with cancer and the family continues to help others through Hugs Children’s Cancer Charity.

All-Valley Charity Tournament

All funds raised during the All-Valley Charity Tournament go to Hugs Children’s Cancer Charity. Contributions can be made by individuals or teams who plan to participate in the event. Others can support the fundraising effort now or during one of the many streams that will take place on game day.

How to Register:

Teams are asked to donate $50 and if you don’t have a team, you can still participate in the tournament with a $5 donation. Solo registrants can find teammates in the #ronin channel on the Discord server.

Additional Information

  • Registration Deadline: March 19
  • Event Date: April 3
  • Event Time: Begins at 10 am PT / 1:00 pm ET
  • Must be at least 13 years of age to participate.
  • Max of 8 players per roster
  • 5v5 event played on a mixture of old and new maps

Prize Pool

In addition to donations for the charity, there have been contributions towards a prize pool for the tournament that exceeds $2,000 in cash and prizes.

Where to Watch

Stay tuned to VR Fitness Insider for information about other charity tournaments as well as other news, event announcements, and feature articles related to VR fitness, health, and gaming.