How Hbomberguy—and Donkey Kong—raised $300,000 for trans kids

Harry Brewis, better known as hbomberguy, who live streamed himself playing Donkey Kong for Mermaids

When gamer Harry Brewis, known more widely by his gamer name Hbomberguy, started live-streaming himself playing Donkey Kong 64 on Friday night (January 18) for Mermaids UK, a charity that supports trans children, he didn’t expect more to raise more than a few hundred dollars.

The initial goal Brewis set for the Twitch stream, he tells PinkNews, was $500. His “most liberal estimate,” he adds, was $3,000.

But the 26-year-old gamer’s fundraiser—streamed from his home near Chester, north-west England—quickly went viral. By Saturday morning, he had already raised $26,000.

Over the course of the next 60 hours, Brewis’ live-stream exploded. He received donations of $347,000, a figure which he estimates will “probably” increase by a further $3,000.

“There are so many who are willing to help,” says Hbomberguy

Celebrities and high-profile individuals endorsed Brewis’ campaign, including US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who both called in to speak to him as he played Donkey Kong 64 from start to finish—a game he’d never managed to complete as a kid.

In total, around 600,000 people have watched all or parts of the Twitch stream, with some 25,000 logging on at its peak.

“I actually broke down and cried a little bit about $75,000 in,” says Brewis.

“Because, I’d really expected it to not do very well. Because I didn’t think that many people really knew or cared [about trans issues]. I thought that was part of the territory and that’s why it’s worth doing.

“I think what caused so many people to react the way they did was the utter shock at discovering that there are so many who are willing to help, so many people who care, and they were almost waiting for an excuse to do it.”

“I actually broke down and cried a little bit about $75,000 in.”

—Harry Brewis

Brewis was inspired to donate to Mermaids UK after his friend and fellow YouTuber Shaun created a video on transphobia in the UK earlier in January, and is donating half of the revenue generated from his channel to the charity.

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