An online gaming challenge posed to a local residents roommate ended with a clear winner: local dogs and cats.
When Andrew Grondin presented a World of Warcraft (WoW) challenge to roommate Kevin Ray, he had little idea that the world would be watching, but they both knew that the winner would be a charity either Dawson County Humane Society or Feed My Starving Children.
WoW is an online role playing game that takes place in the fictional world of Azeroth. With 7.1 million subscribers. it is the most subscribed to, and profitable, online game in history having grossed over $10 billion since 2004. Players control a character avatar and explore landscapes, fight off monsters, complete quests and interact with other players.
The stakes were high with donations from other players totaling $500.
"As for why I gave him the challenge its because we had recently watched Guild Grumps, and I thought it would be a fun idea,'" Grondin said. Guild Grumps is part of the YouTube gaming channel.
The challenge was to go from level one to level 90 in seven days, according to Grondin.
"I hadn't played in a year," Ray said. "I thought, 'I can still do this'. So I did."
There were some changes to the game since he'd last played, but Ray was determined to win for his charity Dawson County Humane Society.
"I went to work," Ray said. "I didn't neglect my life for it."
His life includes his wife Courtney and Freya, the couples 3-year old German Shepherd mix whom they adopted from the Dawson County Humane Society.
"My wife was very understanding and supportive," Ray said. "I love her to death."
As Ray played, his activity was streamed online. Viewers watched from as far as as Canada, Spain and the Netherlands. People were cheering him on while supporters of Feed By Starving Children were hoping he'd fail. The pair chose live streaming so people could follow along and to show the challenge as legitimate.
"I've never had a group of people rooting for me to fail," Ray said with a smile.
The challenge ended at 11a.m. and took the entire seven days. Ray did it without cheating and by just playing the game he said.
"I was exhausted," Ray said.
As for Grondin, whose charity wouldn't receive the $500 donation, he was pleased.
"It felt pretty good, actually," he said. "I was happy to know that the money was being put into the community."
This is not the first charitable event the friends, who met through a shared interest in Dungeons and Dragons, have completed. The pair has also supported water.org, the Atlanta Food Bank and ExtraLife.org.
"The fundraiser is very creative," Jason Hutcherson, director of Dawson County Humane Society said. "To bring different passions and hobbies and combine them with charities is great."