Glen’s gaming marathon for people with migraine
By: Glen Hartley
I’m Glen, I’m 31 and born and bred in East Yorkshire. I’m extremely fortunate to not live with migraine. However, someone close to me isn’t so lucky, they have had migraine for over a decade.
I will never truly understand how people persevere through their everyday life whilst coping with migraine attacks. I will always be in awe of their bravery and tenacity.
It’s extremely difficult to provide effective support to a person with migraine. I’ve felt overwhelmed with guilt that I couldn’t help. However, I learnt that The Migraine Trust offers support mechanisms and advice for the family and friends of people with migraine too. Knowing I’m part of a huge community (60% of people with migraine say it affects their relationships) helps put my mind at ease.
If you have a loved one with migraine, take the time to thoroughly discuss migraine triggers, their emotions during the attacks and how they feel you can efficiently support them. This is one of the best ways to support them.
My gaming marathon for people with migraine
I’ve wanted to raise money for The Migraine Trust for a long time, marathons and cycling challenges were initial thoughts as I was regularly doing both.
The pandemic and a decrease in my physical fitness put those ideas on hold, but I still wanted a big personal challenge whilst including elements of my hobbies. The pandemic increased the popularity of gaming and live streaming for charity with it being accessible from home, alas I had a lightbulb moment.
“Why not play the same number of hours as there are miles in a marathon, 26.2 hours is more than one day’s worth, surely that will be challenging?” I asked myself.
I planned to play 13 games in total, changing games every two hours. I set myself three challenges per game. Examples were to score an overhead kick on FIFA, win a crown on Fall Guys and to win a race at the Nürburgring on Gran Turismo 7.
I set a fundraising incentive that if we surpassed my £500 target, I’d play a zombie thriller game, The Last of Us. Safe to say it was soon surpassed as people know I don’t like horrors or jump scares! I set a further incentive, so for every £25 extra we raised, I’d spend more time playing The Last of Us. I ended up playing an extra 1.5 hours due to more money being raised!
You can watch this back via my YouTube channel @GlenFC15. Please be aware the game is 18+ rated.
I needed to prepare correctly for the physically and mentally demanding challenge. At first I thought I couldn’t ‘train’ for it, but I soon realised, I could.
I tweeted to E-Sport racers who race in virtual 24-hour Le Mans, asking for advice for maintaining concentration levels and focus. They advised regular breaks, fresh air and exercise, plus eating the right foods.
I researched foods that help increase energy and concentration levels; eggs, blueberries, green tea, leafy greens to name a few, so introduced these into my diet in the weeks before.
My tips for anyone planning a gaming marathon
Soon enough the gaming marathon approached. Here are some useful tips if you’re planning a similar event:
- I had prepared food and drinks the night before, ready for quick access.
- I had printed list of things to remember and stuck it to the wall near my TV. The list included things to mention during the stream (the cause, facts about migraine etc.) and eating, drinking and exercise reminders. I often found myself running out of things to say, so the prompts were helpful.
- I did a few live stream tests, checking various options, screens, and buttons. I was hoping to have three extremely long live streams of eight hours each, but I didn’t realise the PS5 stops the stream if you change games on the console.
- I opted for YouTube for the streaming service as I felt it’s more accessible, but be mindful viewers need a YouTube account to add comments.
My gaming marathon experience
As for my experience playing through the 26.2 hours, it had everything.
I consistently had three to four viewers from my 9am start, right through to 2am in the morning which was fantastic. I can’t thank everyone who tuned in to watch enough.
During The Last of Us, a friend came round and knocked loudly on the door to scare me. It almost worked, but people had previously said they might do it, so I was wary of it! I took it in good humour and appreciated the addition to the entertainment factor for all the viewers!
Another friend ordered sweets to be delivered to help keep my sugar levels up, this was a lovely gesture which proved effective during the early hours!
Between 3am and 5am I really struggled to keep awake, I was playing Uncharted 4 by that point (a bit like a modern Indiana Jones). I’m sure I nodded off whilst controlling my character, walking him into walls!
I had energy drinks as a backup plan if I was really struggling, but I wanted to persist with more natural and healthy food and drink options to help keep me awake. I managed to avoid the energy drinks which was incredible.
Eventually, after playing from 9am Friday morning through to 11:30am Saturday morning, the gaming marathon was complete. I ended on a high winning the men’s World Cup with England on FIFA.
In hindsight I wished I had introduced each live stream by explaining the event, the cause, and The Migraine Trust (I did this on some, but not all). A top tip for people looking at a similar event.
I hope this blog inspires others to set themselves a challenge, whether similar or completely different.
It is wonderfully empowering reading the blogs of people with migraine, who are living their lives to their full potential. This also reinforces the importance of the support The Migraine Trust offers and the importance of research to find new medication and even a cure.
Glen has raised a fantastic £721 for The Migraine Trust! You can still support him here. If you’re interested in taking on a gaming marathon or another fundraising event, you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org .