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24-hour gaming marathon raises $5.1 million for sick kids

Extra Life's event, held over the weekend, benefits Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Extra Life's official day was October 25, but gamers can choose any day to participate. Extra Life

Extra Life, the 24-hour gaming marathon that raises money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, has raked in a massive chunk of change.

The program this year raised $5.1 million as of Sunday, 24 hours after this year's event kicked off, organizers announced on the official Facebook page. Last year, the program reached about $4 million in charitable giving to benefit the 170 children's hospitals, which get 100 percent of the cash raised.

Extra Life was started in 2008 by founders of gaming site Sarcastic Gamers. The 24-hour gaming marathon was inspired by a girl with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who died that year. In 2008 and 2009, the first two gaming marathons raised a combined $302,000.

Participants sign up and can either play alone or create teams. The participants get friends and family to donate $1 per hour for gaming. Many teams have been created over the years that raise well over $100,000. Giant Bomb, a gaming site owned by CNET parent CBS, has so far exceeded its goal of $175,000.

This year, Extra Life officially began at 8 a.m. local time on October 25. Traditionally, games of all types -- video games, board games, or anything else -- are played for 24 hours straight. However, gamers can participate in the program at any time and donate to the cause at their leisure. They are also not required to play 24 hours straight in order to participate.

Extra Life will likely raise more money in the coming months. Weeks after Extra Life's main day ended last year, gamers were still playing titles and donating to the program.