You have got to be kidding me! Are you sure that is just for this year?” That was me after wrapping up this year’s Delves for Donors fundraising event and checking in with the hosting store owner for a rough total of how much was raised this year.

A little more than six years ago I came up with an idea for a fundraiser to help Hemophilia Federation of America’s Helping Hands program, which provides emergency financial assistance to families in the bleeding disorders community. Delves for Donors was born! Using my love and passion for the game Dungeons and Dragons, I created an event that seems to have caught on.

More than 70 players — many of whom have no connection to the bleeding disorders community — paid for a seat at the table in one of six two-hour Dungeons and Dragons games. Players get a goody bag with items donated from gaming companies I reach out to for donations. There are also raffles they can take a chance on for $1 per raffle ticket. Goody bag and raffle items have all been generously donated by companies willing to help a good cause.

At the time of this year’s Delves for Donors event, it was just when the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming more widespread and public health guidelines were being established. We were under a state order requiring that gatherings have no more than 250 people in attendance. But at our busiest, we had 50 people in the store.

We did our best to take everyone’s health into consideration — I made sure tables and chairs were wiped down after each game. Despite a few participants cancelling, no one asked for their money back because they understood they were making a donation to a charity.

Our raffles have been getting better every year, as I find more new companies to help and returning companies donate more. This year was amazing with 15 raffle items, some of which were big ticket items and designed to catch the eye of dedicated gamers.

One company that got all the gamers excited was D&D Beyond, which is the company with the official online copies of all the current editions of Dungeons and Dragons books and adventures. They donated three of their Legendary Bundles, valued at more than $600 each, which include every book and adventure put out by the Dungeons and Dragons parent company.

Largest Amount Raised to Date

My hope was that we would be able to beat 2019’s fundraising record of $1,625.

“I checked it myself, Shawn,” said Whit, the store owner. “You made $3,498!” To make it an even number, Steff, the shift manager, pulled two $1 bills from her pocket for a total of $3,500.

The fact that so many people, who don’t really know anything about HFA or hemophilia, other than what I have told them, are willing to help me raise this much is humbling. As we are living in very uncertain times, it is very much needed.

While many people see Dungeons and Dragons as “just a game,” I see it as a way to bring the heroes on the table into the real world. Every one of the people who played this year, or took a chance on a raffle, is just as brave and heroic as the characters in the game.

Sign up for E-mails, Dateline Magazine, and other ways to stay connected.