Hi, could you tell me everything you know about Jared's AKF campaign and what what made him to do it? It would be very helpful for me and I'd be very grateful for your help. Thank you <3
The AKF Campaign was in the works for a while before the first shirt was released. After Stephen Amell did his “F*ck Cancer” campaign, he kept bugging Jared to do a campaign as well. The death of a long-time friend to suicide is what prompted Jared into action. He explained it in-depth in The Story of the Shirt, which was posted alongside the original shirt in March of 2015:
On New Years Eve, my dear friend lost his battle with depression. This, unfortunately, wasn’t the first time i lost a personal friend to suicide, and it hurt me deeply, in a way that only a personal experience with suicide can. Though he wasn’t the first friend I’ve lost to suicide, I sure hope he’s the last. I wish i had the chance to go back and tell them what they meant to me. I wish I had the chance to beg them to seek help, to keep fighting. I wish they knew that they were surrounded by countless others who struggle on a daily basis.
I hope that this campaign, while raising money for a wonderful charity, can also raise awareness about issues that affect more people than we know. I hope it inspires people battling depression, addiction, mental illness and suicidal thoughts to be vocal about their struggles. I hope it helps people realize that they shouldn’t be ashamed of what they are going through, and I hope it helps people meet and find new friends that they can relate to. I hope it helps people take pride in the fight that they have been fighting, and gives them a push to never give up or give in. I hope it helps inspire people to keep fighting. no matter how hard it is.
For people who deal with mental illness, depression, addiction or suicidal thoughts, every day can bring about new struggles. Every hour and every minute can seem to bring insurmountable odds of happiness. I hope that the simple message of “always keep fighting” can help to bolster somebody through a tough time. I also hope this campaign can help alleviate some of the stigma that the terms “mental illness” and “depression” sometimes evokes.
Everybody has either dealt with these issues themselves, or had a loved one who deal with them. It’s time for us to put these issues front and center and not be ashamed of the path we are walking. If you’re out there and need help, please seek it. Be proud of your valiant day-to-day struggle. There is no shame in needing support. I hope this campaign will help you be vocal about your own struggles, or vocal in your support of those who might need a helping hand. Most of all, when life seems to want to beat you down, I hope you Always Keep Fighting.
In April of the same year, Jared and Jensen announced the foundation of the Pack Fund, which collects funds and then distributes them to great organizations such as TWLOHA, St. Jude’s, etc. This is also when the second AKF shirt (Moose & Squirrel) was released.
In May 15, Jared announced he wouldn’t be attending JIBcon and would instead be returning home to Austin to be with his family. Jensen told fans that Jared was physically and mentally exhausted, and fans/cast members/friends/family responded to Jared’s original tweet with love and support.
At SDCC in July, 2015, Anne Kirn (@house_of_darkly) organised a thank-you gesture for Jared’s work on Always Keep Fighting. With the support of Random Acts, she produced 1200 tealight candles. Anne distributed the 1185 of the tea lights to Supernatural fans as they queued for the Supernatural panel in Hall H on the morning of Sunday 12th July, (the remaining tealights were given to the panellists, absent friends. One went to William Shatner). Following the main panel, as the audience questions began, the tealights were turned on and held high in the audience. A note and tealight was passed to Jared on stage, who was visibly moved by the display. He later posted this message to Facebook:
A thank you.
To anybody and everybody that had ANY part whatsoever in the Always Keep Fighting Hall H tea light event.
As I travel back to Vancouver from San Diego Comic-Con, with my partners in crime Jensen Ackles and Mark Sheppard, the enormity of what happened is finally starting to sink in….
I am beyond moved.
I feel so blessed, and grateful, and honored to be a part of the magical Supernatural Family.
Sitting on that stage in Hall H, I initially mistook all of the lights for cell phone cameras. It’s difficult to discern specific shapes and faces with all of those stage lights shining on you (and, it’s quite intimidating up there, sitting in front of 6,500 people!!). Then, when I had a light given to me with an explanation of what it was and what it stood for, I was (and am still) gob-smacked.
From the very bottom of my heart and my soul, thank you so much.
I will never forget this day. I will never forget the love that I felt, and still feel.
And, to everybody who held a light for me, please know that I hold my light for you.
Though I happened to be the one sitting on stage, I am but one small light in a see of thousands. TOGETHER, we can and will make a difference!
Keep letting your light shine. I will do the same.
And, keep fighting.
Always Keep Fighting.
Not long after this event, the third AKF shirt was released.
Since then, five more designs have been released- “SPN Family” and “Thanksgiving Special” in November 2015, One Year Anniversary “Love Yourself First” in March 2016, “I Am Enough” after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016, and “Family Has Your Back” in September 2016 to commemorate the beginning of Season 12.
There was also the recent relaunches of the campaigns in early June, in addition to a multitude of fan campaigns ranging from buying shirts for fans unable to afford them to the glowsticks at Salute to Supernatural New Jersey.
I hope I covered everything! If there’s some detail I missed, this Super-Wiki article is pretty detailed and my source for all my info.
I don’t know when I got this, so sorry it took so long to respond!