I Played NFS: Underground for 14 Hours Straight and Somehow Raised $43,605 for Trans Rights
Together we raised an absurd amount of money for trans kids in the South.
I wrote on Friday about my Twitch charity stream, where I planned to marathon through the entire story mode of Need for Speed: Underground. The plan involved donating to the Campaign for Southern Equality's grant fund, which is meant to help families with trans children. My original goal, which I thought was realistic and still hopeful, was to raise $1,000.
We hit the goal...and then some: over $43,000.
The goal fell within the first 20 minutes. Over nearly 15 hours, as I played through the brutally long and (at times) frustratingly punishing 112-race campaign of the game, the generosity of my viewers kept coming. We had hit the initial goal of $1,000 midway through the first race; eight hours in, we had raised a staggering $12,000. By hour 10, as I finally approached the obscene difficulty jump of the final third of the game, we had hit $20,000 in donations. From there, it doubled over the next five hours; by the time I finally logged off after more than 14 hours we were at $42,615.69, with the remaining $990 coming in through the donation link post-stream.
I was, and am, absolutely blown away by the generosity of my viewers and the support of my friends. For most of the stream, I had close friends moderate or join in, to help keep the chat lively. Towards the end, two hosts from the amazing engineering disasters podcast Well There's Your Problem joined me, as did professional Twitch streamer Keffals, retro-tech YouTuber Cathode Ray Dude, and my favorite musician, Nat Puff. From the automotive world, fellow auto journalist Steve DaSilva moderated all day, as did the owner of Costa Rica's largest independent Honda shop, Emilio Romero. I was joined also by professional racing streamer (and auto writer) Lady Aubernon, and transit and train enthusiasts bsquiklehausen and Tom Colleti.
In short, it was a live-streamed example of not just the collective power of kind and caring people, but it also was a wonderful look into the automotive world we all love. Playing a racing game for hours on end, talking about tuned Hondas or burnt-out clutches or the Cars universe, and having all of the enthusiastic viewers vote on whether I should switch from my Mazda Miata to the Toyota Supra I'd just unlocked (the vote was for the Supra), was a powerful example of how our shared hobby can be such a uniting force for good. There can be so much bickering over the little things in the automotive world, but everyone comes together when it matters, and they did in a big way on Saturday.
And the good we've done is measurable. This tripled the grant budget for Southern Equality's family assistance fund in a single day. My stream was a fun day of gaming for me; together with thousands of viewers and dozens of my friends, we turned it into an incredible success that will help dozens upon dozens of families who need legal, medical, or moving assistance across the South.
And because I beat the game with a pride-flag colored RX-7, there is now trans pride Mazda art popping up, and I love to see my favorite car stand for such a wonderful cause. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that watched, cheered, donated, and supported; I have been overflowing with joy for days, and I'm so happy to see the collective power of car enthusiasts used for such incredible good.