Akane is a brave, young and courageous fifteen-year-old car lover and racing fan who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in September – one of the most common forms of cancer among children and young adults. Her father is Brad Beardow, the founder and co-owner of fifteen52, a brand that offers aftermarket wheels and rims with styling enhancements.
Introducing Team Akane – a fundraising project on GoFundMe that aims to raise enough funds to help Akane and her parents with medical and support costs through the long road ahead towards recovery. Since her diagnosis late last year, Akane has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments and her parents have understandably re-adjusted to their lives to focus on the care of their daughter.
Professional rally driver, stunt expert and official Forza streamer Verena Mei is close friends with the Beardow family, and she has been the driving force behind a community-driven initiative that aims to lift Akane’s spirts in her fight against Leukemia and help raise funds for her treatment by supporting the Team Akane fundraising project with the help of the Forza community.
“I truly feel that the Forza community is an extension of the physical racing/automotive enthusiast community,” Verena wrote to me in an email this week. “And, just as with a physical community, we can all come together to make a difference in someone's life. This time it happens to be a family behind a brand we all love.”
On Friday, March 1st, Verena hosted a special episode of #HeyWatchThis with professional host and writer Kate Yeager on the official Forza Mixer and Twitch channels. The livestream was dedicated to supporting the Beardow family by showcasing 16 beautifully-designed Team Akane liveries in Forza Horizon 4 made by 13 incredibly talented designers in the Forza community. These heart-warming designs were meticulously crafted by AMR THE HULK, Brokenvegetable, Fireprofcargo7, IceRabbitDesign, MN Koshiro and ScholesySlash46 in collaboration with the Pendulum Tuning Garage (PTG) group of livery creators, including Coops, DEE JAY, FOX, Jamie, Phil, Stuzib85 and Wildcat.
Each livery features the slogan #AkaneStrong with the Hoonigan logo and of course, fifteen52 wheels. They also highlight her favourite colours – blue and purple, and each one also features something fun as a unique touch to each design. This initiative isn’t just about raising awareness for Team Akane but celebrating her braveness and her love for racing and all things on four wheels. The Forza community is here for Akane and her family as we fight this, together.
Those who want to showcase their love towards Akane and her family can download any of the 16 new Team Akane liveries available today on Forza Horizon 4. These include designs for the 2012 Porsche 911, the 1977 Gymkhana 10 Hoonitruck, the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST, the 1991 Hoonigan RWB 911, the 2015 Gymkhana 8 Hoonigan Fiesta ST RX43, the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the 2016 Gymkhana 9 Hoonigan Focus RS RX, the 1977 Gymkhana 10 Hoonitruck, the 1995 Porsche 911 GT2, the 1965 Hoonicorn Mustang (V1), the 2017 Ford Focus RS, the 1992 Hoonigan RX-7 Twerkstallion and the 1982 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3. You can find all these liveries on the Storefront by searching for the key word "Akane" when browsing paintjobs for these vehicles.
Prior to Verena’s show, Forza content creator and YouTuber ConnerSpeed6 debuted a special video called “AkaneKhana” to unwrap the covers on all 16 designs created to support Akane and her family, who weren’t aware of this special community-driven project ahead of its official debut. Verena naturally wanted this to be a pleasant surprise for the Beardow family and replayed the video on her livestream, which focused on the use of these special, one-of-a-kind designs.
“I'm truly blown away by all the support of the livery designers,” Verena said. “It shows how awesome the Forza community is, and that we can make a difference in someone's life when we come all together for a cause!”
Verena’s mission has resulted in the creation of 15 beautiful, touching designs that showcase both the talents and the immense kindness of the Forza community in an incredible initiative to not only uplift Akane's spirits through her fight against Leukemia, but to also help spread the word and raise funds for her treatments. Verena first alerted the Forza community to Akane’s journey in a tweet shared at the beginning of the year. It quickly made the rounds and inspired many Forza community members to get involved in the Team Akane project.
However, as shared in an update on their GoFundMe page, Akane’s cancer has proven resistant to standard treatments, which means her parents must now consider alternative therapies. This means Akane’s parents are now looking at significantly higher expenses to cover her medical costs than before. As of writing, the Team Akane initiative has raised more than $2,000 of the $100,000 set goal. You can read more about Akane’s story in a personal journal that was shared online by her parents.
Stay strong, Akane. The Forza community and the wider car culture scene is here for you. Let’s fight Leukemia, together.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.