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Take The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge “Surfer Style”

Totally Local VC’s Kat Merrick discusses AND TAKES the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. But with a California-centric twist. See the video here.


The social media sensation is raising awareness and funds for “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” research

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads, then challenging three others to do the same as well as donating $10 to ALS. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a $100 charitable financial donation.

A social media explosion

The Ice Bucket Challenge, and its resulting media exposure, has been amazing for this cause. Donations to The ALS Association have spiked. As of Sunday, August 24, The ALS Association has received $70.2 million in donations compared to $2.5 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 24), an increase of 2,800%! These donations have come from existing donors and 1.3 million new donors to The Association in what is one of the most viral philanthropic social media campaigns in history. Over 2.4 million videos have been shared on Facebook (as of August 18) and the challenge phenomenon has been mentioned more than 2.3 million times on Twitter. Pretty staggering numbers for a good cause!

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. About 30,000 Americans now have the disease which causes the loss of muscle control and ultimately leads to total paralysis, though the mind remains sharp. Life expectancy is typically two to five years from the time of diagnosis.

Taking the challenge “surfer style”

I was recently challenged to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge. I did the challenge in honor of a dear friend, Mike, who suffers from ALS and I sent the check. Being that California is dealing with one of the worst droughts in our history, I chose to be creative. I chose to take the challenge “Surfer Style” and to make sure that not a drop of water was wasted in the process. So I did it at the beach! My challenge to everyone out there taking part in the challenge is to think long and hard about how to not waste water and still support this cause. A huge issue most that charities face, large or small, is gaining public awareness and raising funds to keep research moving forward. In the sea of needs, it is hard to stand out – this challenge has been a home run for The ALS Association. I am honored to have been called out (by my Mom) and to be given the opportunity to help bring awareness to not only ALS but also the water issues we are all dealing with.

My challenge to all of us in California is to get creative, people!

Why not help send a double message from California to the world:

  1. We are in a terrible drought in California. Water conservation is critical – we must learn to conserve. This drought is financially killing our farmers and ranchers who help feed the world.
  2. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) effects over 30,000 Americans each year and the numbers are rising. It is a horrible, debilitating disease and I pray they can find a cure. Please donate to The ALS Association… whether you choose to dump an ice bucket filled with water over your head or not.

Image courtesy The ALS Association. Video from Kat Merrick’s cell phone.

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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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