Ian Somerhalder Says Farewell To ‘Vampire Diaries’ Set, Offers Trip To Fans

Ian Somerhalder will always be Damon to those who know and love him. After eight years of playing Damon Salvatore in the hit CW series, The Vampire Diaries, Ian finally said goodbye to the show on Thursday. But his true farewell will be the surprise that he is planning a surprise for one lucky fan (plus a friend).

The finale of this season is nearing–and will mark the end of the show. The last few episodes will feature familiar faces, including Nina Dobrev as Elena, David Anders as John Gilbert and, as we saw in the most recent episode, Chris Wood as Kai. However, while giving fans a look at his last time on the set of the Salvatore mansion, Somerhalder explained that there is still “a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Ian and his wife Nikki are committed activists for and promoters of various causes. They aid numerous charities and truly seem to have tender hearts for others–both human and animal. Somerhalder has been so driven by his passion–particularly for our furrier friends–that he began his own charity, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF). According to the organization’s website, it “works to empower, educate and collaborate” with others so that they may “positively impact the planet and its creatures.”

“The purpose of the Foundation is to advance science; promote the conservation of natural resources, such as forests, lands, and wildlife, for the benefit of the entire community; provide relief to the poor, distressed, and underprivileged; and support other organization. […] Through programs, partnerships, grants, media initiatives and campaigns, ISF provides support for organizational and grassroots efforts that protect and restore our planet.”

In an effort to further his charity’s aims and help those in need, Ian used his strong social media influence to reach out to fans. The idea behind all of this? Fans are offered the chance to donate to ISF–certain amounts correspond to higher numbers of entries and special TVD items. In return, they get an opportunity to win a trip to Los Angeles, where they will get to sit with Ian while watching the finale’s premiere, receive a “live commentary from Ian as the episode unfolds” and even be able to “immortalize” their night via “selfies and Snapchats.” In addition to all this, Ian promised to cover the flight to L.A. and the fan’s stay in a 4-star hotel. Not bad, right?

Of course, those who follow Ian know that this is not uncommon for the popular actor. He often reaches out to fans and has even been said by fellow actors to be so gracious in the time he devotes to others.

Entertainment Weekly reported that, of all the cast, Ian Somerhalder was the last to leave. TVD‘s beloved Damon posted his official Instagram farewell on Thursday, thanking fans and viewers for all of their love and commitment over the years. His post on Monday was a follow-up to this farewell.

“I was the last to leave our stages early this morning, not a single crew member, not a sound. To the fans, thank you for it all we would have never been on this journey without you. To all who made this show possible- we did it. 8 years, wow. Thank you all.”

[Featured Image by Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Heifer International]

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