Fictional people and institutions can inspire real people to do great things. Superman taught an entire generation of people about the virtues of truth, justice and punching bad guys square in the dome. But did you know that these fictional people and entities have actually helped people here, in the real world? Confused? Well, here are ten examples to help get our point across.
10. Doctor Who Promotes Red Nose Day
Red Nose Day is like a giant glorified telethon, only British and chock full of actual celebrities, instead of whoever Jerry Lewis dug up year after year.
However, when Matt Smith turned up he didn’t turn up as boring ol’ Matt Smith; he turned up as Doctor Freaking Who, because nobody reading this can honestly see him as anyone but The Doctor. Smith appeared on the telethon in character and generally Britished his way around the set until the people at home threw money at their TV. In keeping with Smith’s portrayal of The Doctor, every woman in the audience (including the host) tried to mount him, which only caused Smith to run away in fear. Which means that The Doctor has potentially made a bigger impact toward helping Africa than 1/4 of The Beatles.
9. Walter White Raises Money For Cancer Victim
Walter White is the fictional (obviously) protagonist of Breaking Bad, a show in which a mild-mannered school teacher is diagnosed with cancer and decides to make crystal meth to support his family. Whereas in the British version he’s simply diagnosed with cancer and is treated free of charge by the NHS, but we digress.
“Save Walter White” was a web page set up by one of the characters on the show. When producers realized just how popular Breaking Bad was, they decided to set up the webpage for real to see what would happen. In other words, they made a fictional webpage asking for money, about a person that doesn’t exist in our world, and they didn’t get shut down by the FBI.
What happened next was quite unreal: thousands of fans of the show visited the site and clicked to donate (which sent them to an actual cancer charity.) The page, at last count, has actually raised over $125,000 for cancer research. Not bad for a web page so garish designing it could easily have been considered a hate crime.
8. Vader’s Fist Giving Charity A Helping Hand
Vader’s Fist is the nickname given to 501st legion in Star Wars. Their entire purpose is basically to do Darth Vader’s bidding and, considering Darth Vader is a pretty evil guy, they aren’t exactly renowned for being nice kids themselves0.
However, in our world, Vader’s Fist is the nickname taken by the Cloud City Garrison, a group of Stormtrooper cosplayers who will, for free, turn up to any event in costume and do whatever you want. The only thing they ask in return is that you donate money to a charity of their choosing. They’ve done parties, charity events, and are all up in comic-cons’ grills.
Just so everyone is absolutely crystal clear here: for a few hundred dollars to a well-deserving charity, you could play Frisbee with 50 Stormtroopers. Not even the Emperor would turn down that invite. Here’s the link.
7. General Hospital Makes Its Fictional Nurses Ball A Real (And Charitable) Thing
General Hospital is one of the most popular daytime TV shows of all time, with more time spent on TV than your lazy-ass cat. A popular staple of the show was the so dubbed “General Hospital Nurses Ball,” a fictional charity ball held once a year. However, it could only remain fictional for so long before TV executives decided to play God.
To celebrate the shows 50th anniversary, someone decided to make the event a real-life thing and, at the same time, use it as a vehicle to raise a bunch of money for HIV research because why not? Teaming up with Amfar (A leading AIDS charity) the show’s executive producer and head writer endeavored to make the event a real thing people could attend. Also, to top it off, the actual event within the show itself was also linked with Amfar. Though we can’t say how many people’s minds were blown when they saw a real charity being shilled on a fictional TV show, we’d like to imagine that it was a lot.
6. Fans Of Serenity Give To Charity For The Chance To Watch Serenity Again
Serenity is a film by Joss Whedon based on the ever-popular, but still cancelled-as-hell show, Firefly. Despite the film sucking the fat one in terms of sales and profit, many fans insist that it’s the best film ever made and, as a result, petitioned to have it shown all the time.
In fact, the film has such a die hard fan-base that, every year, thousands of dollars are raised for charity from fans paying to see it again and again and again. The last time that many people gathered to celebrate something that was already considered dead to the world, they made a religion out of it, so yeah, maybe we shouldn’t have cancelled Firefly after all.
Once a year, fans of the show organize an event known as “Can’t Stop The Serenity” in which cinemas across the America show Serenity (a film fans have seen, many, many times, and could easily stream on Netflix whenever the urge arose,) and donate all the profits to needy charities.
5. Lara Croft’s Undies Raise Money For The Needy
Lara Croft is one of the video game world’s first female role models: she’s independent, smart, and savvy as a fox with an iPad. She’s also a bona-fide sex symbol, because video games.
Croft’s now-iconic outfit and appearance is so famous that there is, at all times, one lady out there who is officially considered to be her real world avatar. So obviously, when the time came for Miss Croft to give a little something back for charity, she offered to give away the one thing everyone knows her for: her skin-tight outfit.
To explain, in 2002, Nell McAndrew (the actress playing her at the time) auctioned off her one-of-a-kind Lara Croft outfit, complete with trademark dual hand guns and sunglasses. As the official avatar for Lara in the real world, this outfit is insanely rare and important to gaming. Also it was once worn by a model and, if there’s one thing we know about people who play video games, it’s that they’ll pay top dollar for something worn by a model. Wait, that’s not people who play video games, that’s everyone. Sorry about that.
4. Super Mario’s Super Marathon
Super Mario is arguably the most iconic video game character in the entire world, with the possible exception of Pacman and the left paddle from Pong (screw that ungrateful right paddle, it knows what it did.) His fame is so great that he’s been in dozens of games — so many in fact that trying to play them all would be the endeavor of a mad man. Or, several very dedicated men wanting to do their bit for charity. Them too.
“Child’s Play” is a charity set up by the guys over at Penny Arcade encouraging gamers to do their bit for charity. So far millions have been raised by enterprising gamers across the world. And of course, Mario has done his part too.
Living up to his reputation as the king of video games, a Child’s Play-sponsored “Super Mario Super Marathon” raised in excess of 100 grand for the charity, proof that Mario either rides hard, or not at all. Though it’s easy to say that money could have been raised with any other game, it’s hard to believe that any fictional world is more recognizable than then Mushroom Kingdom, so yeah, thanks for helping the kids, Mario. We owe you a lasagna, and Princess Peach owes you way more than a cake and a peck on the nose.
3. The Harry Potter Alliance (Featuring JK Rowling)
Harry Potter easily has one of the most dedicated fan bases out there. They’re not as vocal as Twilight fans, or as bad at spelling as 50 Shades fans, but damn do they get themselves out there. A group dubbed “The Harry Potter Alliance” has raised thousands for charity in recent years, all in the name of the Boy Who Lived. Because suck it, Voldemort.
One of the group’s more lucrative events was an online livestream dedicated to helping the people of Haiti. The event drew so much support that JK Rowling herself sent the group a signed collection of all her books to auction off.
But if you think that’s all our four-eyed bowl-cut-sporting wonder has accomplished, you’d be way, way off. Capitalizing off the fandom surrounding the fictional world she’d created, JK Rowling actually released a spin-off book set in the Potter universe entirely for charity, which raised thousands. The Tales Of Beedle The Bard was a fictional book that the Hogwarts students would read. Rowling made this book a reality specifically so that it could raise money for charity. An action you’ll notice she had no obligation to do; she just wanted to be nice, because that’s what Harry would have done.
2. He’s A (Bat) Man Of The People
Batman is a fictional, billionaire superhero who, instead of using his vast wealth to improve the lives of Gotham’s residents with political lobbying or improved services, opts to punch them while dressed as a bat. Different strokes and all.
Though his choice of actions to help others in the comic world may seem a little alien, in our world several people have become Batman and spread his message through far less violent means. Like this guy, who put several thousand dollars of his own money into becoming Batman purely to visit sick children in the hospital. Not just the suit, by the way; Bats bought a Lamborghini and remade it into a Batmobile, for no other reason than he wanted to brighten the day of sick kids.
But hey, why settle for a cheap imitation Batman when good old Christian Bale is willing to be a total legend. Along with his usual charity work, Bale also visited a number of people in the hospital after the Aurora shootings, and took a sick child to Disney Land without telling anyone. Because that’s just how Batman would do things.
1. Spider-Man Cleans Windows For Sick Children
You’ve probably seen this image online of hospital window cleaners dressed as Spider-Man to cheer up the sick children inside. Sadly, that image is fake; it actually happened, but it was a hotel, not a hospital.
However, some people were so intrigued by the idea that they actually went out and did it anyway. So just to clarify, someone dressed the window cleaners at his hotel up as Spidey, someone on the Internet saw the image and created a fictional story about them cleaning the windows of a hospital, and then someone else saw that image and thought it seemed like a good idea, so went out and did it.
That’s a double layer of fiction right there, and Spider-Man came out on top to help and brighten the day of all those sick kids. Screw Charlie Sheen, Spider-Man needs to have “Winning” as his catchphrase.
So for everyone reading, just realize that even stuff that doesn’t exist can make a huge difference to someone’s life if people believe hard enough. Which is a nice thought to end on, don’t you think?