A Twitch-stream fundraiser that saw an automotive enthusiast clock almost 15 straight hours playing Need for Speed: Underground this past weekend ended up netting more than US$43,000 for families of trans children in the southern U.S.
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Victoria Scott, a trans woman who writes for popular car-news-and-reviews website The Drive, had originally set US$1,000 as a goal for her campaign, which would see her play the 2003 street-racing video game until she’d completed all of its 112 races or “until I passed out,” she told Driving, while donors watched on an online Twitch channel.
Scott had also initially hoped to raise funds specifically to help families impacted by Texas governor Greg Abbott’s orders to child welfare officials to launch child abuse investigations in the homes of transgender kids, but pivoted her campaign so donations would go to the Campaign for Southern Equality, which assists LGBTQ families across the southern U.S.
“I wanted to find a way to help from afar,” says Scott, who lived in Texas until recently, and who credits the idea for the fundraiser to her friend Allison.
Building out her efforts around the now-classic Need for Speed: Underground, for the PlayStation 2, was a strategic decision, since Scott had completed the game six or seven times before, and “needed something I could half-pay attention to […] while keeping an eye out on the [Tiltify fundraising site] and the stream.”
See, that familiarity meant Scott could basically play the game in her sleep—which she came close to doing a few times on her Twitch channel. To be fair, it took roughly 14 hours and 45 minutes to beat the whole thing, from 900am PT to almost midnight on March 12. Support and visibility from popular Twitch streamers like @keffal meant about 5,600 people tuned in to watch; over 550 of them donated to the campaign, which raised a total of US$43,405.69.
“I cried a lot […] it was the most moving thing I’ve witnessed,” Scott says of the sum, and if you watch the stream, her disbelief at the outpouring of support is apparent. “The whole community made that happen,” she underscored, noting the fundraiser was helped along by dozens of friends.
While the Need for Speed stream tied to the campaign has finished, it doesn’t mean Scott’s through using the game to raise money for LGBQT families. The gameplay saw her swap cars from a Mazda Miata; to a Toyota Supra; and finally into a Mazda RX-7 that she digitally decorated with a trans-flag paint job as a sort of “communal symbol.” Scott’s considering using the image of that car to sell merchandise or T-shirts to collect additional funds.
She noted on Twitter that more Twitch streaming is on the table, too—though probably not for a while. “My thumbs still hurt,” Scott laughs.