If you've spent any time in Pittsburgh's Twittersphere, you know Anthony "Chachi" Walker. A pro wrestling aficionado, IT guru, Pittsburgh PodCamp volunteer and all-around nice guy, it is not an understatement to say Walker also is a video game expert. He's confident enough in his gaming skills that for the last four years, he's challenged Pittsburghers to step up and play against him during a 24-hour marathon, in the game of their choice, to raise funds for arts programs for kids.
The idea for Chachi Plays for Kids came from the Child's Play organization, and from Walker's own desire to do something for kids in the Pittsburgh area.
"There are plenty of kids out there who don’t really get a childhood, either due to economic or societal situations they’re in," he said in a release announcing this year's event. "If I can give those kids an opportunity to be a kid, that’s what I’d like to do.”
The first Chachi Plays event in 2011 raised $2,700 for the Mario Lemieux Foundation, as part of its Make Room For Kids project. The following year, when they moved the venue to the ToonSeum, Chachi Plays raised $3,800 for the ToonSeum and Father Ryan Arts Center. Last year's event raised more than $4,300 for the ToonSeum.
This year, Walker is setting the bar high: He wants to raise $7,500 for the ToonSeum and Dreams of Hope. The event will begin at the ToonSeum at 7 p.m Friday, and run through 7 p.m. Saturday. Visit the ChachiPlays site and sign up for a slot to play against Walker, or to make a donation. He's promised as a bonus to release "embarrassing" teenage photos of himself on the site when the total hits certain dollar amounts (although the picture he posted of himself in the ninth grade isn't so bad).
“It’s a great feeling at the end of the day to know that I was able to help make some kid’s day a little better,” he said.
OK Pittsburgh, you know what to do.
Check out the video of Chachi getting ready for this year's marathon: