If you’ve been around the Supernatural fandom for the past few months, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “always keep fighting” tossed around. I even mentioned it in one of my recap posts from this year’s San Diego Comic Con. So what’s the deal with it, and why should you care?
Well, I’ll tell you, shrugging Sammy. What is Always Keep Fighting? Essentially, its a campaign Jared started to raise money and awareness for mental illness. After dealing with his own struggles with depression and losing friends to suicide, Jared decided–with the helpful urging from his buddy and everyone’s favorite activist vigilante, Stephen Amell–to make some positive changes in the world. So in a similar style to Amell’s crazy-successful campaign to fight cancer, Jared did a tee-shirt campaign with the slogan “Always Keep Fighting” for mental illness. In fact, he did a couple round of campaigns, selling a shirt with just Jared on it, and one with Jared and Jensen Ackles, which was lovely.
Of course, it wasn’t too long after this campaign that Jared himself sent up red sparks, asking for support from the Supernatural family…
— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) May 16, 2015
I need all of the love I can get right now. Please please give me a few seconds of your time and write me. #AlwaysKeepFighting
— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) May 16, 2015
While the entire fandom was intensely worried about Jared–especially since he had been so open with his own struggles with depression–he set a really great example for his fans, showing them it’s okay to admit when you’re overwhelmed, ask for help when you need it, and take care of yourself. Basically? He showed them how to always keep fighting. Because the Supernatural fandom is great, everyone offered Jared the support and love he asked for, and when he showed up at San Diego Comic Con this year, the crowd held up candles to give him a visual of how much he was cared for.
The gesture didn’t only move him, but it also seems to have inspired his next campaign:
— Jared Padalecki (@jarpad) July 18, 2015
On his birthday, Jared launched a third Always Keep Fighting campaign with this shirt design, that included a wink to the SDCC candles:
So sure, that’s all great, but why should you care? Why should you go out and buy a shirt from some random dude from the CW. Maybe you’re even a Supernatural fan, but you just don’t really get all of the excitement.
Always Keep Fighting is a big deal because it is shedding some much-needed light on mental illness. There are so many of us struggling with anything from addiction to mild depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, eating disorders, PTSD, severe depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, and other mental illnesses. Unfortunately, there’s often a significant amount of stigma that goes along with mental illness, so it’s not uncommon for people to go untreated, suffer in silence, or decide that it’s too big of a fight. Jared’s campaign, along with his own personal narrative, is showing people that they aren’t alone in their fight, it’s okay–and good!–to seek help, and that every day is always worth fighting for.
I’ll be honest, y’all. I love Jared and I love Supernatural, but I’ve not really had the desire to have a shirt with a celebrity’s face on it since middle school (for those curious, my last shirt with a celeb face on it was a Hanson tee). So I haven’t bought a shirt yet for that very reason. However, what these shirts represent are far greater than just a fandom or hero worship. These Always Keep Fighting shirts are reminders to each of us to keep pushing, even when things are unbearably difficult. They are reminders that we’re not alone, and its also a sort of beacon to reach out to one another when we’re out and about in public. It’s also hella perfect for cons, but that’s a different story… So why should you care about and join in on the Always Keep Fighting campaign? Because it’s more than just fandom, it’s about supporting and loving each other. After all, remember:
I’ve bought my Always Keep Fighting shirt. Be sure to buy one for yourself if you haven’t done that yet, and let me know what the campaign means to you in the comments!