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Video game 'telethon' raised more than $8,000 for two LI charities

Molloy College students Nick DaSilva, left, and Ryan

Molloy College students Nick DaSilva, left, and Ryan Cerrati worked on the telethon with nonprofit executives Jeanine Spencer, left, and Terrie Magro.  Credit: Danielle Silverman

An online video game "telethon" staged by two Long Island foundations has raised more than $8,000, a nonprofit official said Wednesday.

The "Operation Playcation" benefit, proposed by Molloy College business students, was staged on Twitch.tv, a website owned by Amazon.com Inc. where viewers can watch live streams of skilled video game players.

A link to the PayPal payments system on the site let almost 170 viewers contribute to the drive to donate Sony PlayStation 4 consoles, software and peripheral hardware for hospitalized children.

The Michael Magro Foundation, based in Hicksville, and The Spencer Foundation, based in Huntington, have teamed up to provide the video game consoles to the pediatric units of NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola and Stony Brook University Hospital.

Terrie Magro, president of the Michael Magro Foundation, said the event, initially scheduled for noon to midnight Friday, stretched over parts of Saturday and Sunday.

She said the $8,460 raised exceeded her expectations. "I was like, 'Oh my God!' "

The funding should allow the foundations to buy an additional dozen consoles plus software and peripherals, with six going to NYU Winthrop and six to Stony Brook University Hospital, Magro said.

Because of the event's success, Magro said the foundations may try to run Twitch telethons as often as four times a year and expand the PlayStation donations to the pediatric units of other hospitals.

The idea of a video game telethon arose when Magro went to a Molloy class in January in search of ideas on attracting funding from younger donors.

Two senior business students, Nick DaSilva and Ryan Cerrati, organized the event, recruiting volunteer video game players and moderating interactions on Twitch.

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