Anyone who’s seen a kid suffer from cancer knows how devestating this cruel killer is. While it’d be great to be able to grab a Lancer and slice through cancer like Locusts in "Gears of War 2," it’s a lot more complicated finding a cure. But videogames are playing a role in helping doctors find a cure for cancer.

A small company called GMS has launched its Play for a Purpose initiative, which allows gamers the chance to play online games for free and donate to a good cause. There’s also an advertising side to the business model, which also raises money for cancer. The goal for the first game – and others are planned – is to raise $500,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) for Childhood Cancer.

ALSF emerged from the front-yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004). At the age of 4, Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of volunteers across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, ALSF, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $25 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 80 research projects nationally.

Now gamers can help with this great cause. With the baseball season over and my hometown Philadelphia Phillies reigning as World Series Champions again, Rays and other baseball fans can still play ball. is a free Flash-based homerun game that’s simple for anyone to step to the plate and slam one out of the park. Registered players accumulate points that convert to real donations to the benefiting charities.

The more players who sign up and play as well as the number of home runs they hit increase available advertising inventory, which in turn, increases the revenue-raising potential of the promotion for the beneficiary. Players can also make direct donations by following links to the beneficiary’s online donation form. And, the best hitters are commemorated in the game’s Hall of Fame.

Advertisers play their part through media buys that convert the players’ homeruns to real donations called "Dugout Dollars.” Advertisers purchase “in and around game ads” (15-second video, scoreboard ads, etc.). The ads reach the game’s audience without interfering with game play. Advertisers get measurable results and make a dramatic impact on worthy causes without altering their media buying procedures.

While ALSF is the first 501(c)3 benefiting from this new initiative, it won’t be the last. New games and opportunities will arise from this unique business model. So click on the link and try batting away cancer. It’s for a great cause.