Livestreaming to Make Lupus Visible
Game On! to End Lupus (GOTEL) has quickly become one of the Lupus Foundation of America’s biggest and most engaging virtual fundraising events of the year! This annual event unites streamers from around the world as they play video games and get creative – whether it be through singing, drawing, baking or getting pied in the face – all while using their platforms to help end lupus. The 2023 GOTEL event will be held from May 5-7 during Lupus Awareness Month, and content creators will stream as often as they would like during the event and throughout the month.
But how exactly did GOTEL get started? Lupus warrior CocoConfession started her own charity event to raise money for the Lupus Foundation of America in 2018. After surpassing her goal, she realized the potential that she and others have to fundraise to help end lupus through her streaming platform. She received an outpouring of interest from others who have autoimmune diseases – including two other professional streamers who later joined as organizers for the event, 8bitDee and 3llebelle. CocoConfession describes being “overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm from the community. So many people came forward and said, ‘my mom has lupus,’ ‘my sister has lupus,’ or ‘I’m doing this because I have an autoimmune disease.” In just a few years, this program has raised over $360,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America.
“I went through the whole cycle of grief with my own health, to finally being in a place of acceptance. I realized that I can’t change it, but can fight back and try to raise money and awareness. And I went fully into that,” explains 8bitDee.
For CocoConfession, 8bitDee and 3llebelle, streaming blossomed from a hobby to a flexible profession that fits their needs. Streaming professionally on Twitch has not only enabled them to better care for their own health, but their communities help them cope with their illnesses; CocoConfession shares that her community holds her accountable and cares enough to remind her to take a couple of days off at times. “I’ve never had that in a professional environment before,” she says.
CocoConfession, 8bitDee and 3llebelle all express the camaraderie and support system that their individual communities provide for them. CocoConfession, 8bitDee and 3llebelle share that they are able to have an open dialogue with their community, where they can be transparent and have tough conversations with one another about where their health is some days. Living with invisible illnesses, their symptoms manifest differently from one another. However, having open communication about this disease, while mixing in jokes and games, creates a supportive and lively environment each of them has on their platforms. They’ve built rapport and trust with their communities to better help others as well who are battling invisible illnesses, letting them know that they’re not alone.
“The support that radiates through my community is one of the biggest gifts. Streaming makes me feel like I’m not alone. It’s changed my life,” 3llebelle shares.
GOTEL organizers work collaboratively with one another to promote, recruit and support the overall event, while also fundraising on their own channels for the Lupus Foundation of America. Through their vision and the support of LFA staff, GOTEL has grown from 35 streamers in its first year to over 120 content creators from around the world. GOTEL participants use their platforms not only to fundraise for lupus research, education and resources, but also to share information with their communities about lupus and other autoimmune disorders.
CocoConfession, 8bitDee and 3llebelle describe GOTEL as a special, magical weekend – one of their favorite weekends of the year – where more than 100 content creators can come together for a common cause: fight to end lupus. Our organizers, along with every other GOTEL streamer, come together from corners of the internet to try to make this world a better place for people who battle autoimmune diseases like lupus.
Are you a content creator and interested in joining the Game On! to End Lupus event from May 5-7, 2023? Registering is easy! You can join the community and help raise lupus awareness for Lupus Awareness Month. Learn how you get involved by visiting lupus.org/GOTEL
For the month of May, we're raising awareness about lupus. Take a look at all the things you can do to help.See More