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Video game marathon continues to honor leukemia victim

Nick Capobianco, of Inwood, lost his battle with

Nick Capobianco, of Inwood, lost his battle with leukemia June 12, 2008, a month shy of his 29th birthday. This was his last Christmas. To honor his memory his friends created an annual video game marathon in September 2008 to raise money for charity. Credit: Handout

A 48-hour video game marathon to honor the memory of leukemia victim Nick Capobianco will raise donations in an effort to provide sick children staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island in New Hyde Park with the latest in video game systems.

Nick’s Marathon, an annual event that keeps his spirit and passion for video games alive, all while raising money for charity, starts next Friday at 8 p.m.

A group of his friends will gather at a Manhattan apartment and play video games for 48 hours straight, live-streaming it at, and asking those who watch to donate to the cause via the website. The goal is to raise $5,000, and the group has already collected $1,346.

After the Inwood resident lost his battle with leukemia June 12, 2008, a month shy of his 29th birthday, his childhood friend Alan Noah helped start the marathon in his memory.

“Nick’s favorite things in life were playing video games and hanging out with his friends,” said Noah, 34, of Huntington. “To do it for charity, it all seemed perfect. I always said that if he were still alive and we did this marathon it would be his favorite weekend of the year and as soon as one ended he would be looking forward to the next one.”

Matthew Campo, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, which provides a temporary home-away-from-home for sick children and their families, said as of now they only have three Xbox 360 systems, which was released eight years ago.

“We’re grateful for the gifts because they’re hitting a major need here,” Campo said. “We have a lot of toys for the younger kids but the older kids need something to keep them occupied. We work everyday to put smiles on the faces that come here so what better way to do that than by putting something fun in their hands.”

Since the marathon’s inception in 2008, they’ve raised $10,000 to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Now they hope to raise enough to purchase a Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii U, and various games, to be delivered by Santa Claus at Ronald McDonald House’s “Lights of Love” holiday party Dec. 12.

Noah said he knows his friend will be at the marathon in spirit.

“I know he’ll be watching us and enjoying it with us,” said Noah, who had known him since middle school. “He’s probably embarrassed by how terrible we are at playing. Nick was amazing at video games. He’d beat the hardest level in two seconds.”

Noah said it’s the least they can do for their friend.

“It’s about keeping his memory alive,” Noah said. “Nick was honestly the greatest friend, unbelievably kind, sweet and generous and he would bend over backwards for his friends and never ask for anything in return. His spirit is definitely missed and we feel his life should be celebrated often. Getting together for this in his name is important to us.”

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