Sophia Bush talks 'One Tree Hill' hurricane relief fund

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‘The Women of One Tree Hill’ have launched a Florence relief effort that’s raised more than $50,000

WILMINGTON — On Saturday, “One Tree Hill” fans celebrated the 15th anniversary of the locally show’s premiere episode in 2003.

The women of “One Tree Hill” celebrated by calling attention to their relief fund for Wilmington residents recovering from Hurricane Florence. As of Wednesday afternoon, the #CapeFearlessChallenge campaign, created by 13 female cast members and the Random Acts charity organization, had raised more than $50,000 from nearly 1,250 backers.

Among those who rallied was Sophia Bush, Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, Shantel VanSanten, Kate Voegele, Danneel Ackles, Daphne Zuniga and Jana Kramer.

Bush, who played Brooke Davis for the show’s entire nine-season run, said the women are all part of a text message group that sprung into action as soon as the hurricane’s path for the Carolinas became clear.

“As soon as the threat of Florence hit the news, we were all texting like mad to come up with a plan,” she said in an email to the StarNews.

Nearly all of the women have friends or family that still live in the area, and many still visit for bi-annual fan conventions, so the prospect of a devastating storm was personal.

Ackles, who played on the series, had worked on a Hurricane Harvey relief fund with Random Acts, which offered their help, Bush said. Crowdrise built the site page and launched it within 24 hours of their first text conversation.

“We sent four or five ideas between the group, settled on one, and we were off and running,” Bush wrote. “It’s incredible what a group of determined women can do in a day.”

Since the storm hit and recovery efforts began, the group has watched from their respective homes across the country as Wilmington and the region they called home while filming the series rebuilds.

“The video footage is devastating,” Bush wrote. “The water is receding, but still a few feet of water damage can result in entire buildings being condemned because of mold. Luckily, none of our close friends were harmed, but many lost a lot. From precious memories to homes, it’s awful to hear about the after effects.”

The campaign, which the women have been promoting on social media, also sells “To North Carolina With Love” T-shirts, with all proceeds going to the fund.

While she knows words can’t help those in dire need of assistance after Florence, she said the women are happy to be doing what they can as Wilmington recovers.

“Wilmington still means so much to me,” she wrote. “All of us gals love it there. It’ll always be the best home away from home.”

Reporter Hunter Ingram can be reached at