At the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), we love it when video gamers show up to support our research to discover treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In 2020, we even established our Gamers vs. ALS program to encourage more gamers to get involved in ending ALS. So, we were thrilled when High Score Tees told us they wanted to raise money for ALS research at ALS TDI through their signature gaming event - High Score Hangout.

High score tees is a company that provides ecommerce solutions for video game streamers – helping them set up stores to sell merchandise like t-shirts and hats, as well as connecting them with talented graphic designers. The High Score Hangout is a weeklong streaming event in which some of High Score Tees most popular partners stream themselves playing video games while encouraging their followers to help raise money for charity – and this year the beneficiary is ALS TDI.

According to High Score Tees founder and CEO Corey Thomas, the company’s choice to support ALS TDI this year went far beyond just wanting to support a good cause. The disease had a big impact on the founding of the company – and on Corey’s own life.

The origins of High Score Tees date back to the Spring of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Corey, a freelance graphic designer who worked in the music and entertainment industries, found himself without work. At the same time his father-in-law, Joseph, who was living with ALS, lost his housing and moved with Corey and his family. As they were caring for him, it gave Corey the chance to connect with Joseph – and to discuss his dream of starting his own business.

“I had had the idea of High Score Tees in the past and I'd run it by him before,” Corey remembers. “He was an entrepreneur. He ran a pizza place when he was younger. He always was trying to do something new and constantly had new ideas. So, when I would sit and hang out with him, I'd go over what I thought High Score Tees could be. He would give me a thumbs up, which at the time was difficult for him to be able to do that.”

Although Joseph passed away soon after, his early support was critical in giving Corey the inspiration to go for it with High Score Tees.

“He never got to see the website or anything like that,” he says. “He passed away before we really got up off the ground. But High Score has a special place in my heart, especially because it's tied to very fond memories I have with him.”

To honor his father-in-law, Corey and his wife set out in search of an ALS organization to support with the High Score Hangout earlier this year. After learning about ALS TDI’s industry-leading research to develop treatments and end ALS, they knew they had found the organization they wanted to support.

“We reached out to a few organizations,” he says. “I know that ALS TDI had a gaming initiative set up as well. So that was very important to me and my wife. She sat down and she looked at the different organizations and out of all of them, she picked this one because she likes the idea of the science and the technology that are behind it.”

How to Participate

If you’d like to participate in the High Score Hangout, you can tune in right now – it began on December 5th and will run until the 11th. Follow High Score Tees on Twitter for information about what streamers are broadcasting. You can also find them on Tiltify, and donate to help them reach their goal of raising $10,000 to support ALS Research. On Thursday, December 9, at 6:30 Corey will be broadcasting a conversation on their Twitch page with popular streamer Slev_86, whose mother passed away from ALS, about how the disease affected their lives.

“I've been really excited to see which partners have decided to step up and help out,” Corey says of the response so far. “It's cool to see the excitement and to also see that that money's coming in, and it's going towards a good cause. Hopefully we can be a small fraction of help in kind of fighting this thing.”

What to Do Next?

    • To learn more about ALS TDI and our research to end ALS, click here.
    • To support the High Score Hangout, click here.
    • To learn more about how you can support ALS TDI through gaming, visit our Gamers vs. ALS page here.

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