It’s the largest single donation that branch manager Sean Hogan has received at the Kelowna BC SPCA in the two years he has worked at the shelter.
“When you hear something like that at first, it’s like am I being spammed here, what is the legitimacy of the this gift?,” he asked.
But it’s true. Kelowna online gamer Kristin Valnicek has donated $164,000 donation to the animal-welfare organization, after placing third at the Fortnite Pro Am Charity Tournament in L.A.
Fortnite is an online battle royal where 100 players leap down onto a small island and fight each other until only is left.
Valnicek, who goes by KittyPlays online, is an animal lover who grew up in Kelowna and has always had a soft spot for the BC SPCA.
“I’ve been playing video games for a very long time, ever since I was three or four-years-old with my dad, watching over his shoulder watching Quake and Doom,” she told Black Press Media Tuesday.
“How I stumbled onto Fortnite, was I was a really big fan of the battle royal genre and when they came out with the game at first I was a bit tentative because it looks a bit young. But, once I started playing it was quickly something I loved to do.”
Valnicek plays games online for a living and wins money through subscribers and sponsorships— which is how she got invited to this celebrity tournament.
“I got invited because I am a big presence on Twitch. I have been live streaming for five years on Dec. 18,” said Valnicek. “I have a big enough community and enough skill that they wanted me to play in the Pro Am.”
She was paired up with the celebrity Chandler Riggs who plays Carl on The Walking Dead. The pair won $250,000 to split.
With a couple cats and a dog of her own, picking the Kelowna BC SPCA was an easy task.
“The Kelowna branch was a natural choice for me, because I grew up in Kelowna and no matter where I live in the word I am always going to have ties here. I have also seen what they do for the community.”
Hogan says a gift like this will help so many animals.
“As an example it covers for us the medical and the spay neuter budget that we have for the Kelowna branch for 2018,” he said. “It just means so much more to us to help so many animals.”
Next up for KittyPlays is a move to L.A. where she will work with E Sports on a female Fornite team.
“There was some stigma associated that women felt shameful about being open about being gamers, and I am not sure where that stems from,” explained Valnicek.
“Just having more role models of loving kind women in the space is definitely allowing women who are already gamers to be more open about the fact that they game. Also having a lot new people that might not have tried it to try it and get into it.”
While working with E Games she is expected to be involved with new gaming initiatives so she can help promote charities like the BC SPCA.
And, to show their gratitude for the donation the Kelowna BC SPCA named two kittens currently in foster, KittyPlays and Fortnite. The kittens came into the shelter as an owner surrender and will be available for adoption after the holidays are over.
For more on the kittens or any other pets available for adoption at the Kelowna BC SPCA contact the shelter at, 250-861-7722.