I like finding stories that make you feel good about being a gamer and give you a chance to make a difference in the world. The fact that this one also uses online video in a pretty cool way means that I can also share it with you, the ReelSEO readers. This is a story about a man named Nick, his lost battle with Leukemia and how his friends continue on in his memory, give to charity and use video games and online video to do it.

Nick’s Marathon is an annual video-game marathon fund raising event dedicated to the memory of their friend Nicholas Capobianco, who lost his battle with leukemia and passed away at the age of 28 on June 12, 2008. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t know Nicholas, you probably do know someone that is suffering from some form of disease like leukemia, cancer, etc.

Nicholas is only one person who lost their life to this disease, but every life is valuable. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

It is anticipated that approximately 21,840 deaths in the United States will be attributed to leukemia in 2010 (12,660 males and 9,180 females). The highest rate of deaths from 2003 to 2007 was in whites (7.4 per 100,000), followed by African Americans (6.3 per 100,000).

In 2010, there will be an estimated 4,390 deaths from CLL and 1,420 deaths from ALL. There will be an estimated 8,950 deaths from AML and 440 deaths from CML this year. Unclassified forms of leukemia will account for 6,640 additional deaths.

An estimated 259,889 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia. An estimated 43,050 new cases of leukemia will be diagnosed in the United States in 2010.

Since Nicholas passed on, his friends, Alan Noah and James Brief organized a video game marathon in his name with proceeds going to charity. They play co-op, that means cooperatively instead of competitively, so no killing each other, for an entire weekend and they stream it all live to the web.

The 2008 and 2009 marathons each raised $3,000. For this year (while being held in 2011, it is technically the 2010 event) they are aiming to raise over $5,000.

They have teamed up with three charities that relate to Nick’s illness, helping children and gaming.

You can click on any of those links to donate (or head to the official site) or you can wait until you see the marathon running live Friday, January 21st through Sunday, January 23rd. There will be a live feed of the video game, as well as a live webcam of them playing at nicksmarathon.com. I am also trying to get them to give Gamers Daily News a live feed as well so that we can help spread the word. Either way, I’m already spreading the word, aren’t I?

They are welcoming donations of all sizes and all donations of $100 or more will receive a complimentary Nick’s Marathon tote bag.

I like this story because they’re using the power of video games for good. They’re showing that video games bring people together and don’t necessarily make for anti-social behavior. I also like this story because they had the wherewithal to include the general public via the use of live streaming out to the web. It also demonstrates the power of online video in that they were able to raise $3000 twice already. We often talk about using online video for profit, advertising, marketing and brand awareness. We generally don’t talk about it in this fashion and so I thought it was time.

If you want to hang out with them and play, here are a couple of the games they’ll be playing online during the marathon:

  • Left 4 Dead (XBox 360)
  • Rock Band/Rock Band: Beatles (XBox 360)
  • Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

A shame I’ve only got Rock Band: Beatles on my Playstation 3 or I would be jamming with them for the duration. Maybe I’ll run out and pick up Mario Kart for my Wii.

There’s no such thing as a 1-up in real life unfortunately, but by donating to the causes you might be able to further research that helps save a life, or make more comfortable those who are already suffering. Doesn’t that sound like the noblest of causes?