As the Head of Gaming at NortonLifeLock, my day-job is focused on finding solutions to keep families and gamers safe from attacks. There are inherent cyber risks in joining multi-player games with internet strangers and my team delivers products that help prevent the loss of personal data, maintain privacy, and protect our members. The latest global product we’ve developed, Norton 360 for Gamers, was designed by gamers for gamers to stay safe while having fun online.
As a gamer (LordBlight) and father of four, I use a lot of my personal time online to raise money for kids battling cancer and other life threatening illnesses. I started streaming myself playing video games on Twitch three years ago when my son was diagnosed with cancer and began receiving treatment. Streaming started as a type of therapy for me and helped me process what my son and family were going through.
As the stream started to grow and more people began to watch, it became so much more. My son was fortunate enough to win his battle with cancer and this became our way of giving back to other kids and families that are going through the same experience. Fundraising on Twitch provides me with continued purpose and fulfillment, and I give 100% of the pre-tax proceeds directly to families with children receiving treatment, primarily at The Tomorrow Fund Clinic. To date, I’ve raised thousands of dollars and counting.
This is an accomplishment I’m proud of, but what has made it a truly humbling experience are the connections with community and audience members I have made along the way. I’ve had countless viewers reach out to thank me because I’ve helped them deal with their own anxieties, depression, or struggles relating to a family member of their own going through treatment. Being able to provide someone an experience that makes them happier and less likely to act on those negative feelings is extremely powerful and has also increased my own happiness.
In addition to raising money on Twitch, I’ve also volunteered as a Computer Science Board Member at Southeastern Regional Vocational High School since 2013 and I speak at high schools and colleges across the country. Applying the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years at NortonLifeLock, I help educate children on the skills needed to attain jobs and form careers in technology. These kids have the potential to be future technology leaders and I see it as our role as current tech leaders to help in any way we can.
I’ve found the most effective way to make an impact when volunteering is by utilizing an existing skill set of yours and applying it to something you love. From my day-job I’ve learned how to start a new business, measure success, execute, present and market. These skills have helped me launch an entertaining stream as well as test, measure, and continuously determine what works and doesn’t work to grow the stream and ultimately the donations.
Treating my streaming like a business also ensures that I maintain my dedication to it in same way I am dedicated to my day-job. This has helped me demonstrate credibility, which is vital as I’m asking people to give me money and trust that I give it to the families in need. By managing the stream with strong measurements and transparency I’ve earned the trust of my supporters and have seem the stream grow 400% year-over-year.
These skills have also helped the schools with which I volunteer. These schools don’t always have business leaders that can help them with budgeting, product selection, market awareness, and being a “performer” has also allowed me to connect with the students. Utilizing these skills has advanced the programs significantly over the last 5+ years in ways that would otherwise have been a challenge.
It’s important to mention that this has been a big time commitment and I’ve had to balance my family life with my fundraising– however this turned into a big benefit too. On my nights off from fundraising, my wife and I spend time together, really enjoying each other’s company, or we hang out with our kids. Since the pandemic started and we’ve all been in the house together, we make these nights hanging out together special and it has greatly increased our family bonds. When I spend nights streaming, my wife has started exploring her creativity and revisited her art work. Balance is key and if you get it right, it pays huge dividends.
Want to get involved? Here are two ways:
1. Stop by my Twitch stream at https://www.twitch.tv/lordblight and subscribe or donate. This money cannot be used as a tax donation, but has the greatest impact as it goes directly to the families.
2. Donate to the Tomorrow Fund directly. The organization does a very good job making sure as much of their funding as possible goes to the families in need. Learn more here: https://www.tomorrowfund.org/who-we-are
I also encourage you to find a cause you care about and to use the skills you have to help in any way you can.
We encourage you to share your thoughts on your favorite social platform.