This one is special and contains a message from a dear friend of ours.
Last week a blog called citypages ran an article identifying the “Top 7 Scariest Fandoms,” warning the rest of the world about fandom with derisive comments about fans of everything from Harry Potter to John Lennon. Not only did they toss around the derogatory words fans have (unfortunately) come to expect, like obsessive and crazy, they also linked (we assume without asking) to fanworks which were included for the sole purpose of ridicule. “Remember, you can’t bleach your eyes,” is provided as a cautionary statement — which undoubtedly ensured that everyone followed the links. The blog also managed to conflate so-called ‘super fans’ who “will cut you if you’re a hater” with someone writing Avatar fanfiction. The line between fantasy and reality seems a little blurred there, don’t you think? And people accuse fans of not being able to tell the difference!
At the same time the citypages blog was running, we were – fittingly enough – at a fan convention in Vancouver. The Supernatural fandom was miraculously not included in citypages’ list of infamy, but has garnered ‘scariest’, ‘most obsessive’, ‘batshit craziest’ and a variety of other colorful titles in the past. The accusations may seem benign, even silly, but our three years of research on fans and fan psychology point in a different direction – one we could clearly see at the con. In a packed auditorium full of enthusiasm and excitement, fans repeatedly got up to the microphone and asked actors who had guest starred on SPN an odd question.
“Before you got the part on Supernatural, did anyone warn you about the fans?”
Warn them? To the guests’ credit, they all seemed rather mystified as to why they should have been warned. Warned that the show is wildly popular and they might end up with 50 times more followers on Twitter or Facebook, absolute PR gold for an actor? Warned that if the fans like them, they might be cast in more episodes, thereby earning more handy dandy residuals? Warned that if the fans really like them, they might be paid thousands and thousands of dollars and flown halfway around the world to answer questions at a convention??
As Matt Cohen aptly answered, “It’s because of you guys that I get to work — And I don’t need a warning, you guys aren’t nearly as crazy as me!” He went on to say, “I feel like the luckiest guy ever, and I have no career, no job, without you guys, so thank you,” bowing to the fans before he left the stage.
Even Jared and Jensen got the ‘fan shame’ question – what’s the worst thing a fan has ever done? While Jensen’s request not to send unusual things to his mom was eminently reasonable, he took pains to challenge the internalized shame that runs rampant through fandom.
Jensen: I gotta be honest, I think the fans of Supernatural are pretty cool…. they have some self respect and they respect the show and the guys that work hard on the show, and so I think we’re lucky in that aspect that we’ve got really cool fans.
Jared: I think we lucked out with y’all guys.
Misha showed his solidarity with fandom by lining up to ask his very own fannish question:
In fact, everyone we’ve interviewed for Fangasm – including many of the guest actors, as well as Jared, Jensen, Misha and Jim – have expressed their sincere and heartfelt gratitude for the loyalty, enthusiasm, energy, creativity, curiosity and affection of the fans.
We would be woefully inadequate researchers if we didn’t explore the wank that sometimes seems to pervade fandom everywhere you turn, from the infamous flying fangirl of the SPN fandom to BNF power struggles in all of them. But it would be just as irresponsible to ignore the flip side – fandom as supportive, fandom as community, fandom as a positive force. An unexpected incident happened at the Vancouver con which reminded us of the real life counterpart of our academic musings. As citypages was running their “fandom-is-crazy-yo” blog, we were listening to the talented Jason Manns in concert, along with several hundred other Supernatural fans. In the middle of Jason’s set, one of the fans suddenly collapsed. At first we thought well, Jason is pretty charismatic, and it’s been a long exciting day, so….. then we realized it was Sandra. Sandra is one of the first fans we ever interviewed for Fangasm, and we’ve stayed close ever since. She’s what citypages would likely call a ‘super fan’ – and one of the sweetest, most unselfish, caring people we’ve ever met. She brings joy wherever she goes. She also has a life-threatening medical condition.
Moments after Sandra collapsed, fans swept into action. Several medical professionals in the audience came forward to help, taking turns assessing her condition and keeping her calm. Jason jumped from the stage to offer support. After the paramedics arrived and transported Sandra to the hospital, a visibly shaken Jason went on with the show. The next day, just before Misha’s Q&A Gary, from Creation Entertainment, announced that several fans who were close to Sandra were asking for contributions of whatever anyone wanted to donate to help out with the serious financial burden. Without hesitation, fans all over the packed auditorium got out of their seats and headed over to the women taking up the collection. People opened their wallets for a fellow fan they didn’t even know. Within minutes – literally – the $500 needed was raised, just like that. When Misha Collins took the stage he also made a contribution – as only Misha can. He auctioned off the bandage on his finger (complete with a dab of genuine Misha blood) and added the proceeds to Sandra’s impromptu medical fund.
We offered Sandra a forum to express her gratitude – we’re including her message to fandom here:
For my Supernatural family – a heartfelt thank you!
From the very bottom of my heart, a sincere and emotional thank you.
I am the person who collapsed during Jason’s concert last Friday evening at the Supernatural Vancouver Convention.
I’ve made it safely home now and wanted to send a message of love and gratitude to everyone who came to my aid during this time and after it.
I had really hoped during the concert that the pain would have stopped and my breathing would have returned to normal. I felt terrible about getting up during one of Jason’s songs, but I really thought I would be okay once I got out into the hallway. I never expected to collapse. What a terrifying feeling.
The best way I can describe what happened after I was on the floor, is like looking up through a rain splattered window. Everyone was visible, but somewhat blurry at times.
And this is where the gift of the angels come in.
It’s a horrifying feeling not being able to breathe properly at the same time as experiencing significant pain. I felt myself fading in and out and despite my internal struggle there was no way I could get up.
The value of soothing words and touches from those who came to my aid, including a nurse and two medics, who were able to help me out when I needed it so much, loving friends and new made friends and everyone in attendance that evening were heaven sent for sure and I’ll always be eternally grateful, because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here writing this, without each of you.
The hospital I was taken to was St. Paul’s and the paramedics and ER staff were fantastic and I owe them a debt of gratitude.
This is where I learned from a dear friend that a collection/auction had been taken up on my behalf. I was and still am overcome with emotion. Thank you everyone so, so much for your kindness and goodwill. I cried pretty hard when I learned of this and my heart fills when I think of your generosity.
St. Paul was all about the angels and how at times they masquerade as humans and come into a person’s life when they are needed the most. Well, I believe St. Paul had it right.
With the unexpected medical expenses and no sick leave benefits, your incredible generosity has ensured that things will be taken care of. Thank you all ever so much for this cherished blessing.
I also wanted to let you know that the financial goodwill extended to me by each of you, will also be shared by assisting some very marginalized people in my community, through my outreach work. Winters can be very harsh where I live and to be able to provide warm winter clothing and full tummies will help tremendously.
To everyone, from my dear friends and fellow attendees, wonderful Chris, Jason, Jared, Jensen, Misha, Clif, all the special people who made up the guest panels (and who I wish I could have thanked personally), Creation staff and the security guard, thank you so much for your love, gifts, care and friendship.
Upon my return home, I had to attend a medical appointment. While I was in the waiting room, a man asked me what I could possibly be smiling about.
I then proceeded to tell him about the blessings that happened in Vancouver.
As Jared reminded Sandra, “Take care of yourself – you’re family.”
While media disparages fandom, Misha Collins is running 50 miles and earning almost $100,000 in fan contributions for charity through his RandomActs nonprofit. Sandra is home safe and sound, thankful for the generosity and support of the fandom community. Maybe the next time we go to a con, someone will get up and ask “Before you got the part on Supernatural, did anyone let you know how awesome the fans are?” We hope the answer will be ‘yes.’
29 thoughts on “Fandom Gives and a Fan Says “Thank You!””
I m so glad to see this post. I think that as a group, SPN fans are some of the most amazing people. If you look at things like “Sweet Charity” which has run periodically over the years, fans pimp out their talents in order to raise money for the charity of the day (Usually RAINN) and are proud to do so. We have graphic artists, writers, crafters of all kinds and video creators. The totals raised each time are phenominal.
When the Tsunami struck, fandom moved into action to raise money. When the Haiti earthquake caused its untold devastation, fandom was there, and again for the floods in Pakistan. We care.
When Sandra collapsed and was taken to hospital, and Gary issued his appeal for assistance to get her home without flying, we had to make people stop bringing us money. She needed $500. In less than two minutes I had $1,200, and kept telling people to stop, because we had enough.
Fandom isn’t a single beast. Fandom is people, and like all groups of people there may be the odd contentious one who sticks out like a sore thumb, but that one person isn’t Fandom. WE are Fandom. We are people who love, and care, and share talents and come from different places.
We love the show – of course we do. We wouldn’t be fans if we didn’t, but we’re all individuals. I contend that if you scratch the surface of any individual, you’ll find a rich strain of nuttiness beneath the ‘normal’. That’s just how people are! (I mean, university professors blogging about pretty actors? Really!)
Scratch my surface, and, sure, I am batshit insane as they say, but it’s not because I’m a fan, it’s because I’m a person, and it’s the norm.
I love fandom in all its tiresome modes. Fandom is my community, and to me it’s a kinder, sweeter fandom than some. As a parting note, I refer you to the fandoms that the bloggers should be writing about. The British football hooligans that lay waste to the towns their teams visit in the name of supporting those teams. The Vancouver Canuck fans that condone a player breaking the neck of an opponent because he’s on their side. The ‘fans’ that line the streets outside of abortion clinics, prepared to kill in the name of the sanctity of life, and yes, the religious groups that will kill for their religion.
It’s all fandom, guys. It’s just easier to take a potshot at us TV fans than it is to do so against the radical religious group that wants to destroy your society.
I’m just saying.
VERY well said! 🙂
First off, I have to say I’m so grateful to the people who gave so freely to help my friend Sandra. I wish I’d been there so I’d been able to help as well instead of having to hear about it after the fact and then worry about her health. Sandra, I’m so glad you’re home safely!!
Secondly, I’d never really been a part of a fandom until I became a fan of Supernatural. Unless, of course, you want to count my obsession with New Kids on the Block in my teens. 😉 My joining of the Supernatural fandom was slow. Don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of the show from episode one. But I didn’t delve into the fandom per se until October 2007. Prior to that I’d read blogs and such online. And even commented once or twice. But that was about it.
October 2007 is when I traveled to Canada from Utah to be part of a fan gathering. I had the guts to do so as I was going to get to meet a few of those online friends in person…including Sandra. It was a fabulous weekend! I met wonderful people who I’m still in touch with today. Because we’re from all over (the US, Canada, England, and Australia) we had no choice but to stay in touch via our computers. That opened me up even more to communicating with others that way. I talked more and more with my friends in the blogs. Friends I “met” because we all love a show called Supernatural…but we talk about so much more than that. Because of knowing these people, I felt comfortable enough to travel alone to two different Supernatural conventions in 2008…I got to meet these people in person and it was just delightful!
In real life I am a very quiet, shy person. It’s not easy for me to make new friends. But these people have become my friends without my ever feeling awkward…so when we do meet in person we can greet each other like the old friends we are. It warms my heart to know I have such an extensive network of friends…I can’t even begin to count how many. Me! The shy, quiet girl who sits in the back of the room.
We may have met because of this show, but I know that when the day comes that Supernatural is no longer on the air, at least with new episodes, these people will be my friends for years after that. We are there for each other from the ups to the downs. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve not had serious issues (others have experienced illness and deaths in their families) but my friends have been there for me through my own stresses like losing my job last year and being out of work for three and a half months. I will probably never get to meet most of these people in person. While it makes me sad I’ll never get to give them a real hug instead of a virtual one, they are all still my dear friends and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.
So go ahead, you other blogs, and mock fandom…but you will never truly understand fandom the way I’ve been blessed to!
OKay.. I’m one of those who feel ashamed of being a fan, sometimes its kinda… you know…having girls screaming and saying things nobody should say about someone else’s son/brother/friend.
But now I proudly say I’m a Supernatural fan, because happens that SPN fans are awesome!!!
Thans for this article, it shows that there’s more than insane hormonal wrecks in this fandom.
I just want to add my thanks to Sandra’s. So many people reached out to us with kindness, support and love, which was a tremendous help to us both. I know the positive energy and kind thoughts helped Sandra feel so much better, and your generous donations eased her mind and allowed her to focus on recovering and getting home.
I also wanted to thank Misha, Jared, Jensen, and the Creation staff in particular for offering comfort and assistance and generally helping everything go as smoothly as possible.
This fandom is truly an amazing group of people.
OMG, I didn’t realize the fan who had fainted was Sandra. OMG. I’m glad she’s home and safe but I didn’t realize what a big deal it had really been.
This was a great post. 😀 Sandra’s thank you was so sweet and what you guys wrote was so true and definitely needs to be seen.
I was sitting beside Kathy, who is one of Sandra’s friends. I was shocked it happened so right near me, and the next day I ramdomly commented it to her, then when Gary came on stage, I grabbed my wallet, and helped kathy’s donation in the funds. She was abit emotional and I just thought about how she was in shock and needing some extra hugs/support so I went and donated our funding. Being also from Toronto, my heart went out to this lady I have never met. I also understand Health issues. I’m on a very limited budget, having to be a care giver to my parents. And resently learning my cousin is dealing with Lupis. How could I not share in donating 40 bucks 🙂 Glad she’s alright and I hope she is doing better. As to us awesome SPN fans, I bow and say what a brilliant group of people I met there this year. And for all those who donated :0) Glad some of us can support and have each other’s back !
To Sandra .. You don’t know me, but I very glad your home safe and sound, many best wishes to you. Hope you get well soon, god bless,
Oh dear, this made me all teary eyed 🙁
i can’t even.. gosh. To say i love the Supernatural fandom is an understatement. It’s not just a tv show it’s so much more than that! And i think we are one of the few fans that look out for eachother. I know so many that compete on “who’s the biggest fan” or “I love edward cullen more than you do” but this is so not the case. <3 sandra, take care
None of this surprises me in the least. I have only met wonderful people in SUPERNATURAL fandom, and those who are not tend to hide behind the moniker of “anonymous.” Jensen, Jared and Misha, along with the rest of the cast and crew of this marvelous show, are amongst the kindest, most giving people I have ever known. They bring out the best in people, and make fans like me want to give of ourselves–from our pocketbooks, yes, but mostly, from our hearts. I’ve donated to Doctors Without Borders for Jensen, to animal charities for Jared, to Misha’s RandomActs and to cancer charities on behalf of Jim Beaver and Kim Manners. SUPERNATURAL has brought all of us together in solidarity, love and brought on the power of giving.
I’m so glad to read this update. I was very heartwarmed to see the fans response both during the event itself and the next day when everyone donated and made the $500 so quickly.
I’ve never been involved in a fandom prior to Supernatural. And despite it’s rep, I’ve had such fun and met such great and smart people that this fandom/experience will always be a wonderful memory for me.
What wonderful comments here! Sue, I wholeheartedly agree with what you said- I couldn’t have said it better. Erica, pretty much my entrance into this fandom was the same as yours, so to your comment I say “ditto”! It really does warm my heart to know we have such an awesome network of friends that has grown out of our love of this TV show.
Word. Every one of them. I agree with everything you said here. I’ve been in more than one fandoms now. As with any places, real or virtue, when there’s a crowd of people, there are bond to be someone with less than “normal” behavior. But I’ve also seen fans getting support from fellow fans who came together because of shared mutual interest.
Your story of Sandra brought tears to my eyes. Way to go Supernatural fans! *applause*
I am always proud to be an SPN fan. But I was especially so this past week. You need look no further than Sandra’s own remarks. Her first concern was not disrupting Jason’s concert! As someone who has also been fortunate to know Sandra through conventions, she is a lovely, generous and wonderful person. Yes, the celebrities are paid to be there, but they don’t have to be as generous with their time and themselves as they are and as someone who has had the opportunity to work behind the scenes, let me assure you that even while they are having a lot of fun, it is hard work. We have a very special fandom, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
Yeeek! What I meant is “virtual” – real or virtual places, not “virtue”! *facepalm*
Well said! I’ve often said, SPN has the best fans! Maybe because it’s the best show? LOL, does that make me a crazy fanboy?
A couple of words in regards to the blog. I am of the opinion that if you can’t say anything nice about a person or a group of people, don’t talk about them at all. But some people have to belittle others and make fun of them to make themselves feel better. It’s very sad but that’s psychology 101.
I love our fandom. Period. While I’m not oblivious to the occasional real wackos out there (as opposed to us the fun crazies 😉 ) I can only say I heartily agree with you all on this subject. We Supernatural fans as a collective and as individuals are phenomenal and have already achieved so many wonderful things together that I can live with the couple of truly insane people who unfortunately stick out and give our fandom a bad name. Do I wish they weren’t around? You betcha I do. But there’s nothing we can do about them other than to totally ignore them. Because that in my opinion is what hurts them the most. Disinterest in their hare-brained ideas. Through this fandom I have met and hopefully will still meet – online and in real life – some of the most amazing people I could only dream of meeting. I’ve never been a con goer before (but then again I’ve never been as much of a fan of a show before as I am of this one) but I got hooked after the first con I went to which happened to be the Asylum Europe one. Meeting the guests was great but the best thing about it was to meet people who share an interest with me. People who are in love with a show I also happen to be in love with. And if that makes me crazy, so be it! I am very happy and proud to call myself a Supernatural fan!
this had me crying… i wanted to go to this convention and i wish i had been there to help too.. i just learned about this today!
but it goes to show a few crazy fans shouldn’t ruin the whole bunch of us! i’ve been apart of a few fandoms…THe backstreet boys (still am lol and they have crazy fans too), the oc…do sports teams count? lol NY Rangers….. but so far i’ve found supernatural fans to be the nicest once, i go to cons mostly to meet other fans, sure meeting the stars are awesome but some of my best friends now i’ve met at conventions and everyone is caring and loving (except for a select few but like i said all fandoms have them)
anyway before i go on too long lol… the stars of the show seem to genuinely like us from what i see at cons and how above and beyond the stars like Jim go to sign for 9 hours at last years vancon. i think the stars realize that we aren’t all nuts and that we do care for each other alot!
I agree whole-heartedly with all the comments. I love being a part of this fandom, and though my co-workers like to try and tease me about it, a number of them have also been borrowing my DVD’s .
Way to go SUPERNATURAL fans!
Wow the story about Sandra really makes me happy to be part of this fandom. I have met some wondeful people through the show (actors and most importantly friends). I have been to a lot of SPN cons and it is always great to be able to spend a weekend hanging out with like minded people and not being judged for being at a con. I myself had never been to a con before SPN, because I was never so into a show, but the main thing I look forward to now about the cons is hanging out with the pals I’ve met online 😀
Another awesome thing about our fandom is how we embrace the guest actors. People who have been in one or two episodes will always be supported by us lot because they are part of the big SPN family and I find that great. I’ve been to SPN conswhere the best and most entertaining guests are often those who are in fewer eps and they can never quite believe the support they get.
So to sum it up..we rock! *hugs the whole fandom*
I like that the chick in the Misha picture is staring at his bum. I LOL’d.
Fandom rocks! Glad to hear you’re doing ok Sandra!
I was at the first ever supernatural convention over three years ago, before I became a fan of supernatural I didnt have many friends, after suffering bullying when I was at school it was so difficult to trust people and find people who liked me for me, and really understood me. I never found myself fitting in anywhere. Then I went to my first con, the people I met there got me, they saw who I was and embraced me for it, I never felt out of place or uncomfortable and that weekend changed my life massively. I’m now proud to call many of those people I met 3 years ago my best friends. We talk every day, whether its online, or by phone, and we see each other regularly even though most of us live across the country from each other. It sounds cheesy to say but Supernatural changed my life, it helped me find a place with people whom I adore and would do anything for. I look back and see how we’ve all changed and grown closer together and it makes my heart sing. It makes me sad when Supernatural fans are called obsessive and crazy, because I like to think we’re passionate and quirky. I love Supernatural and I love its fans, because this show has enabled us to help so many others, like through Misha’s run last week which I followed avidly and in awe on twitter. I think we ROCK!
This post makes me even more proud to be a fan.
I’m so glad Sandra’s okay, and man these boys are real angels. I’m amazed by the whole situation, and Sandra’s letter teared me up.
These guys really do bring smiles everywhere they go.
Thank you so much for posting this. <3
First off, Mal, you busted me. I’m the girl in the Misha photo. And, yeah. I was staring at his bum. But who can blame me? Right?
Seriously, I’m at work and a friend had a link to this site posted on her LiveJournal and I clicked on it and immediately saw myself. Staring at Misha’s bum.
But now that someone’s called me on it it doesn’t seem so pervy. Just kind of funny.
Now then, on some serious things. First off, I’m beyond thrilled that Sandra is at home and is doing much better. My friend and I met her at last year’s VanCon and she was such a nice and cheerful lady. We both were shocked when we saw that it was her that was being hoisted up onto that gurney at Jason’s concert.
I have to say that I too am one of those people who feels like this show has changed their life. For you see before I got into fandom and joined the blog that I used to be on I hadn’t been on a real vacation in over ten years. I hadn’t had any real in the flesh friends since 1995. And since everyone that I had ever tried to be friends with turned on me and dissed me I really wasn’t looking for any friends. I was highly skeptical of a lot of people on that blog. And I had very good reason to be. A lot of them were not who they seemed and although I was disappointed and let down in them and their subsequent behavior I know that it is all water under the bridge. For you see I now have two of the very best friends that a girl could ever ask for because of fandom. I have friends from all walks of life, all ages, and all continents. I have people who know me and know how quirky and different that I am and who still love me and support me and who still want to be my friends. And I owe all of that to “Supernatural”. Because without this show I’d hate to think where I’d be.
This show has allowed me to travel all over the United States. I’ve been to Canada twice now, which I never thought that I’d ever get to do. I started writing again which is not something that I ever thought that I’d do after having done so much of it in school. I have found some awesome new music because of this show. Jason and Steve to name just a few of the awesome people who I have discovered. Traveling allows me to see my friends who live in different states from me. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not shy. Not at all. If judging from that picture of me and Misha is any indication. LOL! But I always feel so warm and welcome at a Con and I always know that I’ll meet some brand new and exciting like minded fans. Along with seeing people that I’ve met before.
This fandom also allowed me to meet someone and fall in love. And even though we’re not together anymore I know that I would have never had the peace and joy that I found in love if it hadn’t been for this show.
So in conclusion I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the entire world. I know that we do have some really mean spirited people in this fandom. Anonymeme anyone? But with all of that bad we still have some tremendous good. And I for one am darn proud to be a member of fandom. It’s a badge that I wear proudly. And we have some amazing and wonderfully caring actors on our show.
And oh yeah, some of those actors just so happen to have nice bums too. Misha, I’m looking at you; Pal. LOL!
We totally agree with you (about fandom – and also about Misha’s bum!) 😉
Thank you so very much everyone for your wonderful messages and well wishes.
I’m so glad to be a part of this marvellous Supernatural family.
Sending hugs and thanks,
And we’re all so glad you’re here with us! It was our honor to post your thank you message here at Fangasm.
Hi Everyone, I’m new here, I’ve recently met Sandra. and i just wanted to say from everything i’ve ever watched and read, SPN fans are the best.
Also every kind and sincere feelings that everyone who has met or knows Sandra in some way has described her to a tee.. we had lunch today, we happen to meet at her work just by chance, and i feel that we have been bestfreinds forever.. Sandra you are one of the sweetest people i have ever met, you are smart and funny, caring and you wear your heart on your sleave, anyone who knows you or meets you would feel very blessed.
I know this is a place to gush over the SPN cast, and oh boy i will.. but i thought seeing as a few had mentioned Sandra.. I just wanted to add my two cents.. ( didn’t want to feel left out…lol..lol..lol.. )
You’re in good company here, KerryLynn — we totally agree. Give Sandra a big hug for us! And then resume gushing over the SPN cast 🙂