Flying for a Cause
The Community Giving Back
“I feel that because I can fight, I have to. For those who cannot.”
–Leia Organa, Star Wars™: Rebels
2020 would have marked the seventh year for Campaign Against Cancer, a tabletop charity event focused on Star Wars™: X-Wing. While the dozens of in-person events around the world won’t be happening this year, the dedicated crew at Twin Suns Charities will be hosting a telethon instead, again raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We spoke with Chad Hoefle, president and founder of Twin Suns Charities, to get some background on the organization and their mission.
How and when did you get into X-Wing in the first place?
I got into X-Wing in Wave 1 of first edition. There was a display at my local game shop, and I was looking for something that I could do with my young nephew while he was staying with me. The store attendant at the time assured me that it was easy enough to understand, and the fact that it was Star Wars-themed with detailed ship miniatures was a huge selling point for me. I took the Core Set home and immediately fell in love.
What is Campaign Against Cancer?
Campaign Against Cancer (CAC) is quite literally a community effort to come together for a single cause, benefiting the fight against cancer. On one day of the year, we all come together to play games and donate money towards a cause that we really believe in. This is just one of the ways in which we can impact the world and help someone else. Whatever we raise, as much of that goes to the beneficiaries like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Telethon Kids Institute as possible. Every gamer, staff member, and store owner who participates in CAC does so as a volunteer to ensure that we can help the cause as much as possible.
What was the impetus behind starting Campaign Against Cancer?
The first Campaign Against Cancer event was in 2014 and was brought about by my shared loves of volunteerism and gaming. At the time, I was stage managing for our local Relay for Life event for the American Cancer Society as a volunteer. After attending FFG events at the local, regional, and national levels, I was impressed by the quality and character of the new friends I was meeting and thought that it would be a nice idea to organize a charity X-Wing event to benefit the ACS. I put together a small team of gamers who had knowledge of graphics, gaming, events, and software development to help me put together the first CAC in South Bend, Indiana. After that, we spread to more and more cities each year.
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve encountered running CAC?
In a single word, growth. In no way did I ever expect this event to grow beyond South Bend, let alone span into multiple countries. As the event has grown from one location in the US to 35 locations in five countries over the years, we have continued to draw in more and more players who have raised more and more money for the benefit of others. In six years, we have raised nearly $130,000, with 2019 bringing in over $47,000, all because of this fantastic player community. There was no way I saw any of that coming and I am amazed by what they do each year. Our success has been such that we were even able to have a booth at the 2019 Star Wars Celebration in Chicago to talk about X-Wing gaming for charity, which was an incredible honor for me.
Tell me about how you chose St. Jude as the charity to work with.
For the first four years of CAC, we worked with the American Cancer Society, but in 2018 switched to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as our primary beneficiary. St. Jude has a great reputation for the work that they’re doing directly to benefit children and families struggling with cancer. We made this decision to refresh some of the enthusiasm for CAC among the player base and St. Jude is an organization with a mission that we can all believe in. In our three years of working with them, they have been absolutely amazed by our results and very responsive to our needs, and we have been proud to be their partner! As a note, while St. Jude is our primary partner here in the USA, we do try to keep money raised at a CAC event in the country it takes place in. For example, last year all of the money raised by our Australian locations went to support the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Australia.
With the usual in-person events off the table due to current events, what do you have planned for the telethon?
The telethon gives our community members an avenue to watch some exclusive content such as exhibition X-Wing matches, painting demos, and discussions with members of the community. This also allows us to still band together to help places like St. Jude.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Chad, and we wish you and Twin Suns Charities continued success!
If you’d like to tune in for the Campaign Against Cancer telethon, or contribute to the cause, be sure to check out www.twinsunscharities.org or https://www.twitch.tv/goldsquadronpodcast, starting at 10:00 PM Central Time on July 17, and ending at 10:00 PM on July 18.
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