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BBCH Extra Life HERO: Meet Kardinal Zyn!

It’s no secret that I love our Extra Life program at BBCH, but it’s mostly because of the people. Our Extra Lifers are awesome! I’d like to introduce another one of our amazing gaming community members making a big difference for the patients, families, and care teams at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH)! – Meaghan

Meet Kardinal Zyn!
Kardi Z’s pronouns are he/him

Find Kardinal Zyn on…

Kardinal Zyn

Let’s dive right in- how long have you been gaming?
I have been gaming since Christmas Day 1987. My parents got sick of my older siblings stealing quarters from them to play Super Mario Bros. on the Big Ten Nintendo arcade machine at the local LaVerdiere’s Pharmacy, so they decided that Santa should bring us a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas! Although it was supposed to be for my siblings who are 10 and 13 years older than me, it became obvious to everyone very quickly that it was my Nintendo. Haha! From the moment I played Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda that Christmas morning in my PJs, I was hooked! I’ve loved video games ever since! 

Although many parents think that video games are an unproductive time sink, I have been motivated by video games to achieve many great things in my life: to obtain my first real job as a groundskeeper, to learn Japanese, to pursue a degree in vocal music, to open a computer gaming center, and even to seek out a high-octane IT business analyst role where I worked for a Fortune 200 company! Yet, late in 2021, I made the decision to leave my professional IT career and pursue my dream as a full-time content creator/Twitch streamer! As such, I KNOW how important video games are – video games changed my life!

And what are your favorite games to play?
I love spending my time running from zombies in titles like 7 Days to Die and Minecraft with my friends! I’m just a huge fan of survival crafting games in general! Raft, Ark, Grounded – there’s nothing that beats overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge with your friends! I also grew up playing Japanese Role-Playing Games and MMORPGs. The Final Fantasy series in particular has always meant a great deal to me.

Now I want to ask you about Extra Life- how long have you been “Extra Lifing?”
I have participated in Extra Life for nine years total, but only four years as Kardinal Zyn.

I was watching your Extra Life Game Day stream when you CRUSHED your 2022 fundraising goal…
This year I was hoping to hit a $2,000 goal (a full 1/3 lower than our goal last year due to the current economic situation), but we blew it out of the water with $4,704 dollars raised! I am so proud of this unbelievably generous stream community that we call “The Kongregation” (AKA the “Zynners”). For a Kardinal, I should have had more faith, I guess. Haha! As Zyn, I have helped raise a total of $9,789.08! Including my pre-Zyn life, the total is $10,805.08! I can’t take the credit though – it truly is all due to the awesomely charitable members of The Kongregation.

I know you also suffered a bit, as an incentive for your followers to donate- can you tell us about that? 🙂
I think everyone’s favorite incentive this year was the “Wheel of Durian” – Well, everyone except mine. Basically, when we hit a goal, I would spin a wheel. Depending on where the wheel ended up, I would have to suck on a durian candy for the duration on which the wheel landed. The first time we spun the wheel, it landed on 10 minutes – the maximum. The Zynners thought this was hilarious and were roaring with laughter! Me? Not so much. Have you ever had durian though? It is truly like a hot, fermenting garbage taste/smell. Truly awful stuff. That is precisely why it made such a compelling incentive though! And I am happy to suck durian if it means even a few extra dollars end up helping BBCH treat these kids. Durian is nothing compared to what they are dealing with each day.

We appreciate your kindness! Can you tell us- what does Extra Life mean to you?
It is a cause that is truly near and dear to my heart. Many adults in my family have been severely impacted by cancer. My step-brother, my grandfather, and my mother. My step-father is an over the road trucker, so it fell to me to help care for my mother when she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in late 2000. I know how draining these treatments can be and it is unfathomable to me that a small child should be subject to such a torturous regimen of care. I know the good work that BBCH is doing for children going through that unimaginable experience and I want to do everything within my power to help. I’d see colleagues running 5Ks and half-marathons for various causes and just think to myself – “I wish I could do that!” As someone with flat feet, a bad knee, and asthma, I was never a great runner though! Soon after, I was introduced to Extra Life! Extra Life meant I could use my skills, my hobbies, to do something good for my community. That is such an empowering feeling. I’m so incredibly thankful to Extra Life for giving me the opportunity to engage with and raise money for my local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Anything you want folks to know about Extra Life?
Extra Life is the most appropriately named charity in the world. It may sound dramatic, but it is the truth; when you sign up for Extra Life, you could be giving a family extra time with their loved ones.

What would you tell someone who is not sure about signing up for Extra Life?
Don’t be unsure. DO IT. For the kids. What would you be willing to do for one more day with your children/loved ones? Playing video games or tabletop games for 24 hours is a small price to pay to give these kids a better chance at life.

What do you like to do outside of Extra Life? I love to sing and act! My persona as Kardinal Zyn ties my love of theater, video games and tech into one neat, big-red-hat-wearing package! Before I was a full-time streamer on Twitch, I used to participate in a lot of musical theater (even operas) here in Southern Maine! I’ve starred in major roles at City Theater, Lyric Music Theater, Portland Players and The Public Theatre! Some of my favorites have been Jekyll/Hyde in Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical, Monsieur Thenardier in Les Miserables, Frederic Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein The Musical, Mark in RENT! and Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar. At the moment, I am hyper-focused on growing my streaming career, which doesn’t leave me with sufficient time to pursue theater any longer – at least for the time being! I do try to bring this aspect of my former life into my streams and do occasionally put on mini-concerts for The Kongregation! We have a Christmas concert coming up shortly, actually (editor’s note: psst- it’s scheduled for 9PM Eastern on Tuesday, December 20th)! One day soon, I do hope to return to local community theater – I miss it!

If you love gaming like Kardinal Zyn, what could be better than using your gaming to help kids? You can sign up to join us, or find out more about BBCH Extra Life at And you can make a donation to Kardinal Zyn’s Extra Life page in support of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital HERE.