#TaliasLegacy

This week we wanted to recognize and honor the story of a 13-year-old girl who devoted her short time on this earth to supporting children and families who live with cancer, while battling cancer herself.

Talia Joy Castellano was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor that develops from nerve tissue. This is the most common form of cancer found in childhood and infancy. A short time later she found out that she also had Leukemia, a cancer of the blood or bone marrow which causes almost one-third of all cancer deaths in children and adolescents younger than 15 years old. Battling two cancers at once is almost unheard of.

Following the diagnosis, Talia started spending more time with Tammy DeLaRosa, a cancer survivor and close family friend. DeLaRosa shared in an interview, “I have drawers and cabinets and stuff full of makeup, and she just started going through them and pulling them out, and then she asked me if I would put makeup on her and so I did.

talia-makeup-is-my-wig

Talia began experimenting with makeup after losing her hair to chemotherapy treatments. She created her own tutorials and posted them to YouTube. One of her videos earned more than 8 million views, and her channel (GMA News) gained more than 750,000 followers. “I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig,” she says in one of her videos, “It’s just amazing.” What seemed even more amazing was Talia’s positive attitude despite the circumstances, truly evoking her middle name, Joy.

The YouTube make up guru had mentioned in a video once that she dreamt of meeting Ellen Degeneres. The TV host caught wind of this and turned Talia’s dream into reality when she invited Talia to appear on “The Ellen Show” in September 2012.  She said, “I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you’re going through, how do you stay so positive?” she asked.

Referring to Ellen’s character Dory in Finding Nemo, Talia responded, “When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!’

tdy-talia-castellano-1.grid-7x2

Ellen, a Cover Girl representative herself, made Talia an honorary Cover Girl and presented her with her own portrait. The makeup brand was awed by Talia’s story and also awarded her a makeup table and $20,000.

Of all the positive messages that Talia video-blogged online, the one that resonates with the Public Interest Registry team most is the idea of leaving impactful footprints on the world and being a part of something bigger. This little giant certainly did that.
Talia’s favorite charity was the Base Camp Childeren’s Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit #dotORG that serves 200 families that are fighting cancer daily. With her footprint in mind, Talia launched a fundraising campaign called “Bring Hope Home” to raise $125,000 so that the local charity in Orlando, FL would be able to buy an office condo to create a permanent home for their programs.

talia-bring-hope-home

Talia wanted to leave her legacy at the BASE Camp office by creating Talia’s room — “a destination where girls can come when they’re feeling down, a place where they can come to get pretty…filled with make-up, nail polish, pretty dresses, jewelry and shoes!” (BaseCamp)

Please help BASE Camp fulfill Talia’s Legacy with your donation.

Last week, on July 16th, Talia unfortunately lost her battle to cancer, but she continues to win over all of our hearts. Just a few days before she passed, Talia posted her 74-item bucket list to her official Facebook fan page. This list included to-do’s like “leave my handprint in wet cement,” “send a message in a bottle,” “help a newbie with cancer,” and “jump in a pool of jello.”

talia22n-5-web

Talia’s supporters are now honoring her life by completing all of the items on her list and sending in photos to with the hashtag #TaliasBucketList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

We would like to send our deepest condolences to Talia’s family and friends. Thank you for helping this bright young girl share her light and energy with the rest of the world. Her legacy will continue to live on.

Public Interest Registry’s (NGO) InterAction

This week, Public Interest Registry exhibited at InterAction’s annual forum held in Washington, DC to promote .ORG and two new domain extensions that we intend to launch by mid-2014 — .NGO and .ONG (the .NGO equivalent for Spanish, Italian, French and other Romance languages). To say the very least, we were extremely pleased with the turnout of the conference.

InterAction is a wonderful organization (in its 29th year) that encourages individuals from public, private, and NGO sectors to engage, learn, and build together; to address shared challenges related to human rights, philanthropy, relief, education, and health; to develop solutions that will improve quality of life for people of the globe; and to work toward making Earth more sustainable.

There were a few things that really stuck out to us at this particular conference:

  • Practically everyone who attended and/or exhibited at InterAction were already affiliated with organizations that use a .ORG website to promote themselves online. Those who have a .ORG address told us that they purposely chose this domain extension to let people know that they are part of a trusted, nonprofit community, and it’s a place to tell their stories and promote their cause(s). They like being a part of the .ORG family 🙂
  • Many of these same individuals did in fact identify themselves as part of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). So, when they saw our .NGO/.ONG banner, the concept of NGO as a domain extension instantly clicked and they wanted it…badly! One comment that we received was, “Why hasn’t someone come up with this sooner?!”
  • We were reminded that NGOs need a lot support at a grassroots level. We highly value our engagement with this group to better understand what they need from their local perspective. .
  • One tool that stood out for us at this conference was the NGO Aid Map, which allows you to explore and learn about NGO projects taking place all around the world, to find new NGO partners, and to download and analyze open data associated with international aid and InterAction’s members. We think that this well serve as a great reference tool for the community.

Not surprisingly, there was one common question that many of the attendees had: Do we have to switch from .ORG to .NGO? The answer to this is NO! In fact, we encourage (validated) NGOs to have both domain names active for a couple of reasons:

  • Maintain brand equity. Since your organization has already invested in building a brand under .ORG, there is no reason to eliminate this extremely valuable equity. Your supporters already recognize you as a .ORG, and we believe that there is great value to maintain and continue this trusted recognition.
  • Increase brand equity. Because .NGO/.ONG is a validated domain; it would be advantageous to use this extension to show the world that your organization is a validated NGO.
  • In addition, by having a .NGO/.ONG domain address, you can enter yourself into Public Interest Registry’s online directory of NGOs. You will be part of an online portal — think of this as a community hub for NGOs — that not only allows NGOs to find one another (by name, region, cause) and communicate about important issues, but it will also allow you to be more easily found by donors and volunteers. We truly hope to see that the fruition of our labor with this online space turns into elevated awareness of NGOs and their important work throughout the world.

We are still several months away from launching .NGO and .ONG; however, now is the time for NGOs to really start paying attention to what is happening on the Internet. The future is a digital world and we believe .NGO/.ONG will play a big part in this community.

If you or someone you know is affiliated with an NGO, please encourage them to visit http://www.ngotld.org for more information about .NGO/.ONG and, equally important, submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for their own domain(s).

A big thank you to InterAction for allowing Public Interest Registry to exhibit at their event, and also to the volunteers that helped make the conference such a great experience. We cannot wait to launch our new domains in 2014.

Sincerely,

The Public Interest Registry Team