It Comes From the Heart

Pink Day in LA!

You may or may not have heard about Pink Day in LA, Mailbu Barbie, or the awesome team over at Gamers Giving Back, but let me tell you; these are people worth knowing and here’s why.

The Gaming World Entertainment Network, GW-EN for short & parent to GGB, is a solid community of  gamers with hearts of gold who have a 24/7 online radio station that caters to the geek-minded. But while their rockin’ tunes are nothing to scoff at, where these guys really shine is in their passion and ability to round up the masses for a good cause.

Pink Day in LA (Lion’s Arch) is an annual charity event held in-game in Guild Wars raising awareness for breast cancer research. The event has been held in 2007, 2008, and 2010 and is making a comeback again this year. The krewe and their network of friends, family, and fellow fans work tirelessly for months planning, promoting, and preparing for the event. Scores of in-game prizes are available for all who show up to support, and some amazing donated IRL prizes are available for those who donate to the cause.

Last year was a benchmark in the charity’s history; they astounded us all by raising well over $10,000 for research. It’s an amazing feat that’s made everybody in the Guild Wars community, and then some, extremely proud. ArenaNet showed their support as well by offering an exclusive pink-dye vendor just for the day as well as a handful of devs showing up in-game to join the festivities.

The 2011 Pink Day is set to launch on October 15, from 12pm-6pm CDT (10am PST; 1pm EST; 5pm/17:00 GMT/UCT). Remember, you don’t have to play Guild Wars or even be a gamer to contribute; all donations are done via website and the proceeds go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.

For more information, check out their official webpage: http://pinkday.gw-en.com/

Now, I took some time to talk to Malibu Barbie, who spearheads the projects and events, about the history of GGB and what it’s been like to serve the community in this way.

Interview with Malibu Barbie

Q: So first off, lets talk about how this all got started. We know you’ve got the streaming radio; how’d that come to be?
Malibu Barbie: Well I used to be a host with Blade Radio and after leaving there, some community members were asking me if I would ever host in Guild Wars again…. .and when the idea of Gamers Giving Back came to mind…. I thought why not combine the two? We began on a free host Radio stream and by July 2010 we had a full blown website and paid for stream with a line up of Volunteer Hosts!

 

Q: What’s your team like? There are a lot of DJ’s and other members who help make everything happen, right?
MB: My team is really amazing. Besides the fact that they don’t get paid and seriously they volunteer, how awesome is that?! They are always there to help out no matter what and even go one step further. The crew that were at PAX literally went without any sleep trying to get the word of Pink Day in LA out there! We are like family :) You do have to realize that my staff not only consist  of the hosts, but we have our web designers and other behind the scenes people as well that work just as hard too! The majority of my staff tell me that doing this for the community and for the charity is the best salary in the world. I often joke that they all get paid $1 million dollars…… times Zero. But all jokes aside, these guys truly bust their butts to make the Guild Wars Community have some extra benefits you don’t see in most games.

 

Q: You guys have been active in the Guild Wars community for a while, outside charity events as well. Tell us a little about that.
MB: Everyday in Guild Wars, we have a dedicated schedule of hosts that spend their days ( and nights) trying to get ingame items and real life items to give out on our regular hosted shows. You can check out our DJ Schedule to see what ingame town our hosts are in, and they do quizzes for the items! We also support Guild/Alliance events by lending a hand or playing great tunes while we are there!

 

Q: Are there any other games you guys use for these sorts of projects?
MB: We have been spreading the word in League of Legends, Aion, Rift and even the IPhone community from Bok Choy Boy has lended us support! It is really great to see Trion (Rift) involving themselves in Extra Life as well this year! That really shows that they care about Gamers Giving Back :) We are hoping that other gaming communities can possibly take on the ideas we have and maybe create a “Pink” event for their community and host it the same day and work towards the same goal. Whether its “Paint MMOs Pink” or “Pink Gaming Day”… that vision has always been in my mind and I would love to see it happen someday… but you have to start somewhere and Guild Wars was the perfect place!

 

Q: What are some of your favorite [non-charity] memories in-game events that you’ve been involved with?
MB: There have been so many, but personally I have to say Canthan New Year is one of my most favorites. Running around like crazy handing in ingredients, its funny everyone usually stays up the whole 24 hours of the events too! Its really a blast every year! As well, there is nothing better than going to a Guild/Alliance party and being able to party with them!

 

Q: At what point did Gamers Giving Back come to exist? What was the inspiration for that?
MB: Gamers Giving Back is actually kinda a weird story. I was driving home from work one day ( I am a high school teacher) and was listening the radio. The song, “What About Now” by Daughtry was on and if you have never seen the video for this… it’s a must. It got me thinking about what was happening in Haiti at the time and I thought, “Hey! Gamers should help out with this somehow!” From there I got home and totally exploded on my Vent my ideas and got told “Slow down… you should really write this down Rhonda….” The rest is history I suppose… but I really wish I could tell Daughtry how much they inspired me to create this movement.

 

Q: Last year (2010) was pretty huge for you. I think we were all really pleasantly surprised.. how did that feel for you?
MB: There are 2 sides to how I feel. When I saw how huge Pink Day in LA got last year… I was really overwhelmed and happy at the same time. I am a huge perfectionist, so the pressure meter went up big time and all I could think about was… okay how can I make this bigger and better for next year… I really was thinking about that on October 16th at 6:01pm! We really want to help make Gaming Communities a positive place! I really want to thank everyone for their support so far in our endeavors.

 

Q: What do you think was special about last year that caused it to be so much of a success?
MB: To be honest, I think that gamers in general just have big hearts and we really just need a way to show it! We are awesome people too and not the stereotypical things you hear…. yes some of us might still live in our mom’s basement, but we are probably doing that to save money to become doctors and lawyers to make world change… not just drink Red Bull and pew pew all day.

 

Q: You guys have set a pretty ambitious goal for 2011. How are you feeling about that?
MB: We were actually so close to that goal last year… I really think if enough people get together, we can definitely make this goal! Let’s go gamers and prove that we can make a difference!

 

Q: You guys held an MS drive back in the spring. Do you have any other plans to expand the charities in the future?
MB: We have supported a variety of different charities along the way since Gamers Giving Back came into creation. We raised money for Haiti, MS, Japan, New Zealand, Cancer Research, The Children’s Miracle Network (Extra Life Campaign) and Child’s Play (Mario Marathon)! We are currently looking at starting up some teamwork with Gamers Outreach as well. (gamersoutreach.org) We might not be able to create an full out event for more charity work, but you never know! We are always looking to help promote different organizations however. My team and I really work hard to promote things like Anti-Bullying as well.

 

Q: Guild Wars 2 is bound to bring in a lot more players, with a larger community to reach out to. Do you think you’ll continue Pink Day in GW2 or stay in GW1?
MB: We are really hoping that Pink Day in LA will continue into Guild Wars 2! Let’s hope that the dynamics of the community allow for us to be embraced in the newer game. I would like to point out that not just gamers support Pink Day in La and we have received many compliments from Non-gamers about the work and support we receive from our awesome community here in Guild Wars. People really have wide eyes and lots of questions when you bring up the fact that a gaming community is raising money for charity. Its a good feeling to get that support.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add or want people to know who may be new to this whole event?
MB: Three things: 1. Wear Pink 2. Have Fun 3. Create Change
Gamers Rock and Pink Day in La is for everyone, whether you are donating to the cause or just coming out to party with Sheila The Sheep. We will have something for everyone at this event and with 15 districts already being support and a large radio stream and video stream (courtesy of Guildwars2live.com) everyone will have a chance to check things out!
So hopefully we will see you in Lion’s Arch International Districts on October 15th and thanks for your support!

 

TT: Rock on, and I think it goes without saying that we all thank you and your team for the awesome work!

 

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