On July 2, 2014, Rikki Cabler of Sullivan, Indiana hosted the second annual RJC Memorial Charity 24-Hour Livestream. This 24-hour online-gaming event united gamers, or rather “Mechwarriors”, from around the world to show their support for autism. Surpassing its goal of $10,000, this event raised over $16,000 for the Autism Science Foundation.
Approximately one thousand gamers entered the No Guts, No Galaxy online community to participate in the RJC Memorial Charity event. Rikki and colleagues encouraged gamers to participate by reminding them, “Nearly every Mechwarrior knows someone living with this condition, or a parent of someone with autism. We often know first hand the difficulties that having autism can create, and we hope to organize the fighting force of each of you into a force not only for big stompy robots, but for making a difference in the real world.”
Every year, on July 2nd, Rikki remembers the passing of his father Ronnie Joe Cabler. Looking to commemorate his father on this day, Rikki grew interested in the idea of a livestream charity gaming event. He began collaborating with a YouTube channel host to map out the logistics of hosting such an event, and his ideas quickly began to fall into place.
When Rikki discovered that his girlfriend’s 14-year old son was diagnosed with ASD, he formed a personal connection to autism. Later, once he met a woman who worked for a local autism organization, he decided that his livestream event would support autism advocacy and research. Thereby, this organization became the designated beneficiary of the RJC Memorial Charity 24-Hour Livestream.
Days before the event launch, gamers began interacting on an online discussion board and voiced concerns that the beneficiary did not support vaccinations based on the disproven notion that vaccines cause autism. Although the event was merely hours away from its launch, Rikki and the directors of No Guts No Galaxy did not want to support the message that vaccines are harmful. Therefore, they reached out to the Autism Science Foundation the morning of the event to ask if it would be the new beneficiary of the charity livestream.
The Autism Science Foundation agreed to become the beneficiary and the event was launched later that day. ASF’s Community Relations Associate, Meredith Gilmer commented, “We are so excited and grateful to be the beneficiary of the annual RJC Memorial Charity 24-Hour Livestream. All of the donations from this event will directly support cutting-edge autism research.”
With a fundraising goal of about $5,000, Rikki and his team were pleasantly surprised to raise over $8,000 at the first annual RJC Memorial Charity 24-Hour Livestream. Doubling its yield this year, the event proved once again to be a huge success. ASF is grateful for these generous donations as well as the team’s commitment to promoting qualified autism science. Rikki and his team hope for the RJC Memorial Charity 24-Hour Livestream to continue supporting ASF for years to come.