Nerdfighters

From Tuberculosis Wiki

Nerdfighters are the fans of authors and YouTubers John Green and Hank Green, also known as the Vlogbrothers. Since the creation of the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel in 2007, Nerdfighters have been active in philanthropy and public health activism. Nerdfighters who are active in tuberculosis advocacy call themselves TBFighters.

Project for Awesome[edit | edit source]

Project for Awesome (P4A) is an annual charity event founded by John and Hank Green in 2007. During the first P4A on 17 December 2007, originally called the Nerdfighter Power Project for Awesome, the Greens asked Nerdfighters and other YouTubers to upload videos promoting their favorite charities. On the day of the campaign, Nerdfighters commented, rated, and favorited P4A videos in order to elevate the videos to the front page of YouTube.[1] The tradition continued annually, with increasing support from YouTube over time.[2] Live streams were added in later years, eventually growing to a 48-hour live stream hosted by a rotating cast of YouTubers.[3] Centralized fundraising was also added after the first P4A. Later, a perk system was introduced, where viewers could donate in exchange for prizes ranging from digital art to signed Deadpool memorabilia.[3] Initially, the pooled fundraising was split among charities chosen by the Nerdfighters via a voting system.[4] In 2014, the fundraising format changed. Fundraising from the first 24 hours of the stream was reserved for two large charities, which have included Partners In Health, Save the Children, Last Mile Health, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.[4] The fundraising from the later 24 hours was split among charities chosen by the Nerdfighters via voting.[3][5] Public health charities that have received second day funds include the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Against Malaria Foundation, This Star Won't Go Out, the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, Alzheimer's Association, APOPO, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, SENS research foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières, Last Mile Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.[4]

Nerdfighters participate in the Project for Awesome in several ways. They contribute perks, donate to the fundraising drive, donate to the matching fund, vote on, comment, and like videos, create videos, host portions of the livestream, and promote the event via social media. Since centralized fundraising began, the Project for Awesome has raised over US $20 million for charity including over US $3 million in 2023 alone.[3] In 2023, Hank Green signed a deal with the mobile word game Gubbins to donate 10% of their profits to the Foundation to Decrease World Suck, which handles donations for the Project for Awesome.[6] Nerdfighters responded to the news by purchasing premium versions of the game.

On 15 June 2024, John Green hosted a two hour livestream with Dr. Joia Mukherjee to raise money for Partners In Health (PIH), in honor of Nerdfighter Amit Schiller.[7] Schiller, a long-time nerdfighter and TBFighter, died of cancer at age 28.[8] He donated $28,000 of his estate to PIH as a match. At the end of the stream, Nerdfighters had donated $62,103 to PIH, including Schiller's match.[7]

Partners in Health Sierra Leone[edit | edit source]

On 22 October 2019, the Green brothers launched a US $25 million fundraising initiative with Partners In Health to support the Maternal Center of Excellence (MCOE) in the Kono District of Sierra Leone.[9] The MCOE's objective is to radically reduce maternal mortality in Sierra Leone, which had the highest maternal mortality rate in the world before Partners in Health began its work in Sierra Leone.[10] In addition to new facilities and 24-hour electricity, the MCOE also covers fees for patients and train health care workers from Sierra Leone.[10]

The Greens and their families initially donated US $6.5 million of their own money,[10] later growing the sum to US $8 million.[11] Other large donations brought the fundraising total past the halfway point at the beginning of the fundraiser. Nerdfighters created a matching fund of US $120,000 per year for the fundraiser.[12] In 2022, John Green shared that the community was on track to raise US $35 million within the first 5 years of fundraising.[13] By 2023, portions of the new facility were under construction and PIH had started to provide care.[14] In addition to periodic and one-time donations, Nerdfighters support the MCOE through subscriptions to the Awesome Socks Club, Awesome Coffee Club, and Sun Basin Soap Company, which give all of their profits to the MCOE.[15] In 2023, the Awesome Socks Club, Awesome Coffee Club, and Sun Basin Soap Company, together raised US $3.5 million for the MCOE, and by the end of the year construction on the new facility was almost complete, with some wards set to open in 2024.[16] By June 2024, Nerdfighters had raised US $40 million for the MCOE.[11]

Partners in Health Lesotho[edit | edit source]

On 18 June 2024, John Green announced a fundraising initiative with Partners In Health to support tuberculosis preventative care in Lesotho. The announcement featured the launch of Keats & Co tea, which would dedicate all of its profits toward the program in Lesotho.[11]

Pizzamas[edit | edit source]

Pizzamas is an annual fundraiser in which John and Hank Green sell limited-time absurdist comedic t-shirts and other merchandise.[17] Profits from Pizzamas went to the Partners In Health Maternal Center of Excellence in Sierra Leone in 2020, 2021, and 2022.[18][19][17] 2020 proceeds also went towards global COVID relief.[18] In 2023, profits from Pizzamas went to Partners In Health with a focus on tuberculosis treatment and diagnosis.[20]

TBFighters[edit | edit source]

Johnson & Johnson Bedaquiline Patent[edit | edit source]

In 2023, John Green, Hank Green, and the Nerdfighters put their support behind the Stop TB Partnership's efforts to persuade Johnson & Johnson to allow competitors to make generic bedaquiline. On 11 July 2023, John Green posted a video asking Johnson & Johnson to drop their application to evergreen their secondary patent on bedaquiline, a life saving multidrug resistant tuberculosis drug.[21] Nerdfighters wrote to the Johnson & Johnson ethics line, made social media posts, and called and emailed Johnson & Johnson to persuade them to drop their secondary patents. On 12 July 2023, Johnson & Johnson responded to Green, stating that "It is false to suggest - as some recently have - that our patents are being used to prevent access to SIRTURO® (bedaquiline), our medicine for MDR-TB."[22] Nerdfighters parodied the tweet in social media posts.[23] On 13 July 2023, Stop TB Partnership announced that after lengthy negotiations, Johnson & Johnson agreed to let Stop TB Partnership's Global Drug Facility to supply generic versions of bedaquiline to most low- to middle-income countries (LMICs), including those where the patents still apply.[24] The move dropped the price of bedaquiline from $289 to $130 for a six month supply in almost 100 LMICs.[25] However, critics noted that not all countries were included, and Johnson & Johnson retained the patent, maintaining control over production.[26] Nerdfighters continued to pressure Johnson & Johnson to commit to not enforce the patents. On 2 October 2023, Johnson and Johnson announced that they would not enforce secondary patents on bedaquiline in 134 LMICs.[25][27] John Green celebrated the announcement in a Vlogbrothers video on 30 September 2023.[28]

Time for $5[edit | edit source]

In 2023, John Green, Hank Green, and the Nerdfighters put their support behind the Time for $5 Coalition. In collaboration with the coalition, they launched a public pressure campaign to persuade Danaher and its subsidiary Cepheid to lower the cost of their GeneXpert tuberculosis tests.[29][30] The public pressure campaign began on 12 September 2023 with a video from John Green called "Barely Contained Rage: An Open Letter to Danaher and Cepheid"[31] and a website created by Nerdfighters[32], which asked the public to pressure Danaher and Cepheid to lower the cost of Xpert cartridges. The website launch was the first time that Nerdfighters publicly identified as TBFighters. TBFighters and other members of the Time for $5 Coalition made social media posts using the hashtags #PeopleOverProfits and #TimeFor5[30] and called, emailed, and sent letters to Danaher as part of the campaign.[32] After Danaher announced on 19 September 2023 that they would drop the price of their basic tuberculosis/rifampicin resistance test to $8,[33] TBFighters celebrated the progress but continued to place public pressure on Danaher. The continuing phase of the campaign focused on pressuring Danaher to lower the cost of their test for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis.[32] Social media posts used the hashtags #PeopleOverProfits and #XDRNext.

After the launch of the Time for $5 petition on March 22, 2024, TBFighters expanded their efforts to support the campaign. Nerdfighter-driven social media campaigns included theme days such as World TB Day and Danaher co-founder Steven Rales' birthday. For the release of Taylor Swift's album "Tortured Poets Department," TBFighters produced eight Taylor Swift song parodies themed around the Time for 5 campaign.[34]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ Saleem, Muhammad (19 December 2007). "How 2 Nerdfighters Took Over YouTube". ReadWrite.
  2. ^ Green, Hank; Green, John. "Project for Awesome: 5 years of doing good". YouTube Official Blog.
  3. ^ a b c d Wurst, Emily; Harvey, Branden (12 April 2023). "2023's 'Project for Awesome' Livestream Raises $3M for Charity". Good Good Good.
  4. ^ a b c "Previous Grants". Foundation to Decrease World Suck. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  5. ^ Gutelle, Sam (28 December 2015). "2015 Edition Of Vlogbrothers' Project For Awesome Raises $1,546,384". TubeFilter.
  6. ^ Rousseau, Jeffrey (16 November 2023). "Studio Folly to donate 10% of Gubbins' revenue to charity". GamesIndustry.biz.
  7. ^ a b Special PIH Matched Fundraiser. YouTube. 15 June 2024.
  8. ^ "Injustice has a cure". Partners In Health. Retrieved 15 June 2024.
  9. ^ Lindquist, David (23 October 2019). "John Green and Hank Green want to raise $25 million to address Sierra Leone health crisis". IndyStar.
  10. ^ a b c Fallon, Katy (4 September 2023). "'It is for us, who will give birth here': the women breaking barriers to build Sierra Leone's new maternity unit". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b c Green, John (18 June 2024). The Tea. YouTube.
  12. ^ Green, John (22 October 2019). Why We're Donating $6,500,000. YouTube.
  13. ^ Green, John (15 November 2022). 3 Years In: What Happened, Why, and What's Next. YouTube.
  14. ^ Green, John (2 May 2023). GOOD NEWS. YouTube.
  15. ^ Baker, Kamrin (14 November 2023). "With Support from Hank Green, New Word Game 'Gubbins' Gives Back To Charity". Good Good Good.
  16. ^ Green, John (16 January 2024). The Bank of Nerdfighteria. YouTube.
  17. ^ a b Wurst, Emily (5 September 2023). "Pizzamas: How a Bad Mustache Became an Annual Fundraiser & Community Tradition". Good Good Good.
  18. ^ a b Green, John (5 October 2020). Thank God It's Over and PIZZAMAS IS HERE!!!!!!!. YouTube.
  19. ^ Green, Hank (5 October 2021). Why the Heck am I on TikTok???. YouTube.
  20. ^ Green, John (25 September 2023). PIZZAMAS IS HERE!!!. YouTube.
  21. ^ Green, John (11 July 2023). Barely Contained Rage: An Open Letter to Johnson & Johnson. YouTube.
  22. ^ Johnson & Johnson (12 July 2023). "Twitter".
  23. ^ Green, Hank (12 July 2023). "Twitter".
  24. ^ "Global Drug Facility update on access to bedaquiline". Stop TB Partnership. 30 August 2023.
  25. ^ a b Dall, Chris (2 October 2023). "Johnson & Johnson drops secondary patents for bedaquiline". CIDRAP, University of Minnesota.
  26. ^ Cullinan, Kerry (14 June 2023). "Agreement on TB Drug is 'Stop Gap' That Excludes High-Burden Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia". Health Policy Watch.
  27. ^ "Johnson & Johnson Confirms Intent Not to Enforce Patents for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for the Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis in 134 Low- and Middle-Income Countries". Johnson & Johnson. 29 September 2023.
  28. ^ Green, John (30 September 2023). An Incredible Update. YouTube.
  29. ^ Mahdavi, Darius (19 September 2023). "'Pure price-gouging': Advocates celebrate price drop of critical TB test but say Big Pharma needs to do more". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  30. ^ a b Baker, Kamrin; Harvey, Branden (13 September 2023). "14 Best Memes About Danaher & TB from John Green & Activists". Good Good Good.
  31. ^ Green, John (12 September 2023). Barely Contained Rage: An Open Letter to Danaher and Cepheid. YouTube.
  32. ^ a b c "Support TBFighters". Archived from the original on 28 September 2023. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  33. ^ "Danaher to Provide Cepheid's Tuberculosis Test to the Global Fund at Cost". Danaher. 19 September 2023.
  34. ^ TBFighters (17 April 2024). Reputation (TBFighters' Version). YouTube.