Like most streamers, Eret started his Twitch channel for fun. So when he started an ongoing charity drive to pay off his friend’s medical bills, Eret never imagined he’d pay off all $39,432.61 in under a year.
“Eight years of medical costs,” Eret said on the stream. “Paid off in ten months.”
It started small. For Eret’s very first stream, he put up the modest goal of raising $100 for his friend Scot.
“I was thinking, ‘I’ll probably get this in a couple of weeks, we’ll see,’” Eret told In The Know. “And then someone dropped a hundred dollars and I was like, oh, wow. This is something I could make a difference in.”
Eret, whose real name is Alastair, is a student at the University of Southern California and one of the biggest LGBTQIA+ streamers on Twitch. His channel has grown tremendously this year, going from what he described as “a few hundred viewers to a few thousand viewers in a matter of months.” He currently has over 216,000 followers.
Eret said his success is partly due to his association with Dream, a Minecraft YouTuber who boasts over 11.1 million subscribers. However, it’s also because he is openly bisexual.
“I’ve been able to create a safe space in our home for a lot of the LGBTQIA+ community,” he said. “And since there isn’t much LGBTQIA+ representation on Twitch or in the gaming community in general, it’s been awesome to be there for that community.”
And Eret has leveraged that visibility for good. Together with his friend and fellow streamer Jameskii, he raised a total of $54,000 for their mutual friend Scot.
Eret said Scot suffers from a medical condition that causes debilitating headaches, so much so that Scot had to drop out of school and is unable to hold down a regular job. With the money that Eret and Jameskii raised, Scot won’t have to worry about his medical bills for the foreseeable future.
When Eret was asked if he was disappointed that he had to start a private fundraiser for his friend’s health payments in the first place, he had some choice words to say as a U.K. citizen who also has personal experience with the American healthcare system.
“I broke my arm in the U.S., and with insurance, it cost me $8,000,” Eret said. “If I did not have insurance, it would have cost me $100,000 to get my arm fixed.”
With the $8,000 he spent to treat his arm, Eret said he could’ve flown to the U.K., gotten treated for free and flown back three or four trips over.
“It’s insane that the medical system here is so predatory on people,” he said.
So what’s next for Eret now that he’s fulfilled his first big streaming goal? Well, he’s going to continue raising LGBTQIA+ visibility in the gaming industry, something he says is sorely lacking. Part of that is clearing up misconceptions that people have about sexuality as a spectrum, particularly when it comes to bisexuality.
“There’s that thing if you’re in a relationship with someone of the opposite gender,” Eret said. “You’re a ‘fake bisexual,’ and lots of people feel pressure from that.”
But for now, he’s just grateful that he was able to do something great for a dear friend.
“I never, never, never thought we’d pay the whole thing off,” he said. “But we did.”
If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s article on how Fall Guys raised $1 million for gamers with physical disabilities.
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