CDawgVA wants to raise “at least a million dollars a year” for charity after successful Cyclethon stream

CDawgVA/Paul Ballard

Hot off of winning the Streamer Award for Best Philanthropic Stream Event, CDawgVA has already topped his own award-winning event by raising over $550,000 for charity in his second Cyclethon. In an interview with Dexerto, Connor revealed that he doesn’t plan on stopping his charitable endeavors any time soon.

Connor ‘CDawgVA’ Colquhoun has had a near-meteoric rise on both YouTube and Twitch over the past few years, to the point where he’s secured a Twitch exclusivity contract because of how highly he’s valued by the platform. He went from creating almost exclusively voice-acting YouTube content to being one of the biggest streamers on Twitch, all while being a part of Trash Taste, one of YouTube’s most popular podcasts.

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His growth as a creator has been met with equal growth in his following, and the effort he’s been putting into trying to branch out and create new content has paid off in spades. In an interview with Dexerto, he expressed regret that he didn’t try to use that following and talent for philanthropy earlier in his career. However, that’s something he aims to fix now.

When asking about his recent Cyclethon and his future goals with streaming, he set one of his biggest goals yet: “I want to raise at least a million dollars a year for charity.” However, putting on a large-scale production like his recent Cyclethon streams takes a great deal of effort, and it won’t be easy to top his last two streams. We asked Connor about the process of conceptualizing his Cyclethon streams, the physical toll his most recent journey took on him, what’s motivating him to do so much charity work, and his goals for the future.

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Finding a way to top “lightning in a bottle”

Between CDawgVA’s first award-winning Cyclethon stream and his recent follow-up, he’s already raised almost $900k for charity. Charity streams aren’t anything new on Twitch, and many of the world’s biggest content creators have all tried to come up with fun ways to raise money for causes they’re passionate about. However, even after putting a ton of time into planning both events, he wasn’t expecting his first or his second Cyclethon to be such a massive hit with his fans.

“My main concern when I went into the charity cycling was that, for some reason, there might be less interest in it. I felt like the previous one was kind of like lightning in a bottle. We didn’t really promote it, we didn’t really – I mean, I didn’t have much confidence in the idea initially, because I didn’t think it was gonna be something people wanted to watch. But I think we made a few key decisions that really helped tell a story and make it engaging for the viewers. I’m really glad it turned out to be something that people were interested in again.”

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This is where the expertise of Connor and his team comes in. It wasn’t just him and the open road; he had an entire team behind him and a companion in Chris (a.k.a. Abroad in Japan) cycling with him the whole way. Despite them trash-talking each other often on camera, Connor had a lot to say about what Chris has helped him with over the past few years.

CDawgVA | Twitch
Chris giving Connor a thumbs up during the last leg of their most recent charity stream

“Telling a story, he’s very good at that. Thinking about more of a narrative with videos rather as opposed to filming content and not thinking about how it makes sense narratively to piece together. Chris kind of pushed me to film in 4k as well, which I don’t think I was doing. Being around talented creators really pushes you to improve yourself. I’m so fortunate, I can just shoot Chris a message and be like, ‘Hey, what’s the best lens for this camera? How should I take this shot?’ Having that information is so helpful.”

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“When you have a friendship with content creators, that’s kind of the best situation. It’s like, we love hanging out, we love getting beers, but also we trade information. And it’s not something like, ‘You owe me, I owe you.'”

Sure, Chris and Connor collaborating so often has helped both of them grow their audience and has been a boon to their careers, but you can also feel that they’ve got a genuine friendship that’s grown over time. Trash Taste cast aside, it’s hard to think of a better companion he could have picked for the Cyclethon – both to have a good friend to travel with, and a guest who viewers also feel a deep connection to through his repeated collaboration with Connor.

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All that combined with Connor having a speaker hooked up to text-to-speech with donations, a heart-rate monitor, a calorie counter, and a map tracking his journey every step of the way, allowed for him and his team to turn his journey into a spectacle. Having so many ways for viewers to track his progress made it a live event that kept viewers entertained, even during the slower parts of his trip.

That said, there was one part of the stream he didn’t account for this time around: The cycle itself.

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“I vastly, vastly, vastly underestimated how hard this island was gonna be compared to the other area we were cycling. This was so much harder to cycle physically, because there were so many more hills, I didn’t expect that. Definitely took me by surprise. I was too cocky going in; I thought, ‘Eh, I’m healthy, I’m fit, this is easy. I don’t need to think about this.’”

It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was a worthwhile one. On Connor’s final stream over the course of the 9-day journey, he went from $380k up to his final total of over $552k, raising nearly $200,000 in a matter of hours – one hell of a victory lap for his almost 1000km journey.

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But there was more to this stream than just raising money. A big part of it was about what he was raising money for.

CDawgVA’s doing it for IronMouse (and people like her)

IronMouse has grown into arguably the most popular V-Tuber in the world, sweeping pretty much any Vtuber related awards show and gaining a level of viewership that has helped the act of Vtubing explode into the rapidly growing trend it is today.

She’s also a constant when it comes to Connor’s videos. Whether she’s his partner-in-crime for their in-game shenanigans or an element of chaos that shows up at any time, the rise of these two creators has been in no small part due to their chemistry together.

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“You can only do so much on your own. Ultimately, there will come an idea that you need someone else for. Always having someone who is such a good friend and is so close, to be able to just rely on them is… Like, I don’t even have to ask Mouse. I’m like, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re doing this thing with me in a week.’ And she’s like, ‘Oh, ok, I guess so.'”

“Having someone you can rely on who’s genuinely a great friend and an awesome person has really helped me and my content. And she’s such a talented creator in her own right. So, being able to work with someone you get on with so well, they’re fun, they’re making you laugh, and they’re also such a talented streamer in their own right. I’m so fortunate to be able to be friends with someone who’s so talented and allows me to improve my own content.”

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“I’m always there trying to pick her up and give her more confidence in herself. It’s been great. I don’t think anyone on earth would say she doesn’t deserve the success she’s gotten, and I hope she continues to keep getting it. She’s a very talented creator who’s had a lot of roadblocks in life. It’s a really amazing story, I think. She’s so inspiring, even to me.”

IronMouse’s achievements as a content creator are inspiring on their own, but she suffers from common variable immunodeficiency, a condition that makes it nigh impossible for her to do so much as leave her room. Fortunately, the world of Vtubing has allowed her to broadcast herself globally and become an international sensation – all from the safety of her home.

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Connor has also put on several streams where he took IronMouse to different locations in Japan, acting as the eyes and ears both for the Vtuber and her chat. While she may not be able to leave her room, Connor’s done his absolute best to take her and their viewers to places they’d never be able to go in real life. The fact that these little outings evolved into massive IRL livestream events that have raised almost a million dollars for charity is nothing short of poetic.

That said, some days are better than others. There’s no cure, only treatment. And even then, no treatment method is perfect. Meanwhile, Connor has raised almost a million dollars for the Immune Deficiency Foundation in a matter of months between both Cyclethon streams. IronMouse has also used her platform to try and raise awareness for how important plasma donations are to the survival of her and people with similar conditions. The umbrella of primary immunodeficiency covers over 450 diseases, many of which require donated plasma for proper treatment and care.

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For many, Connor’s job sounds like a dream. This is a sentiment even he agreed with, calling his job the “hardest, easiest job in the world.” His work schedule may be grueling, but the things he gets to see and do are extraordinary. But what does he still dream of? Are there any big goals Connor wants to accomplish as a creator or otherwise?

“I… I don’t know. Not really, in a weird way,” he admitted. “The main thing I enjoy doing is being able to support talented people. I currently have a few staff that are very talented programmers, and I hire a bunch of artists, a bunch of graphic designers, and for me that’s very satisfying to be able to pay living wages to other people while making dumb stuff online.”

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“I just want to push technology forward. It’s not just one goal, I just want to keep pushing the envelope and keep making great stuff and be able to support really talented people. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

After this answer, he hesitated for a moment before coming up with something he’d really like to accomplish in 2023.

“[I want to] do as much charity stuff as possible. I really want to use my platform more for that. I feel like I haven’t used it enough in the past years, and I really want to keep doing more. At least one or two big events a year for charity.”

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“That’s what I want to do, I want to raise at least a million dollars a year for charity. I owe that much at least.”

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