#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.

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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!’

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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.

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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.”

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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.

ORGs for Boston

The energy in the air is nervous today. Eyes are low, constantly shifting from Twitter and Facebook mobile apps to the Arrival/Departure signs overhead. Security dogs are pacing up and down the halls as armed policemen herd us all like sheep. A man gets on the intercom and announces, “All trains traveling to Boston are suspended indefinitely until further notice.” Like clockwork, literally, all of the “ON TIME” trains scheduled to travel to alternate cities turn to “STANDBY”, “LATE” or “CANCELLED.” Penn Station is growing chaotic quickly, and “Police activity in Boston” is the answer to everything.

The Public Interest Registry team came to NYC this week to participate in the Big 3 Conference, hosted by PR News at Grand Hyatt Central. Given the focus on social media communication strategies, news updates about the Boston Marathon attack  — on Twitter and Facebook — did not go unnoticed by attendees in-between meetings and panels.

Despite feeling disheartened by the details of this catastrophic event, we were amazed to hear the stories — about the runners who kept running to local hospitals in Boston to donate blood; the firefighters, military vets, EMS, and policemen who helped get people out of danger; and the doctors who have been working relentlessly through the evenings and early mornings to monitor their patients. We also felt proud to see dot ORGs join forces and work diligently to try and alleviate the situation at hand in any way possible.

Immediately following the bombings at the finish line on Monday, Google.org activated its Google Person Finder tool so that family, friends and loved ones could search for or provide information about people that may have been missing or potentially injured. By the end of Wednesday, the tool was tracking just under 6,000 accounts – enabling controlled conversation between dispersed parties during a time of disaster.

American Red Cross, an official charity of the Boston Marathon, also exercised a tool similar to Google’s Person Finder called Safe and Well. Ultimately, this response tool helped to unite the community; it enabled emergency responders to delivery deliberate communication; and it helped people find participants and/or spectators that were present during the Boston Marathon attack.

There has unfortunately been concern about recently launched websites that aim to fraudulently raise funds at the expense of this tragedy. On this topic, the Better Business Bureau released a statement on Tuesday saying:

“There are already more than 125 domain websites with names connected to the Boston terror attack. Most of the time, legitimate [relief] websites will have a dot org at the end of their address – not a dot com.”

According to Public Interest Registry’s statistics, 156 dot org domain names were registered between April 15 -19, relating to the Marathon. All of these names currently have an active status, which suggests that all are active websites; however, this cannot be determined unless the sites are visited. Public Interest Registry maintains an anti-abuse policy and will take appropriate action in the event that we become aware of actual fraud or abuse related to these domain names. At this time, we have no information indicating that any of these domains are engaged in fraudulent activities.

Public Interest Registry would like to express its deepest sympathies to all of those who have been affected by the events that have taken place this week. To the Boston community, do not give up. Trying times are times for trying; together, we will get through this.

Sincerely,

The Public Interest Registry Team

The Ratings Are In: Measuring .ORG’s Trust and Success in Numbers

Written by Thuy LeDinh, Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Public Interest Registry

I recently discovered HBO’s new hit show, The Newsroom, which follows a team behind a nightly cable news program in their quest – in the name of ethical journalism – to deliver the best and most truthful news coverage to viewers. If you’re a fan of the show, you likely can understand how it made me think about how we consume, digest and respond to all of the information that media throws at us. Between the emails, embedded hyperlinks, tweets, pop-up banners, and mobile app notifications constantly popping up in our day-to-day lives, how do we cut through the clutter to differentiate between what’s important?

And when we need the facts, where are we most likely to turn for credible, reliable information?

So where do you turn for the most trusted source of information for a cause or charity?  Would it be through social media or the organization’s website?  We recently conducted a survey through ORC International to measure the level of trust consumers have in .ORG and their sentiments towards other online resources, such as social media, and found that 82% of survey respondents still think a website is the most trustworthy place to get information on a charity or social cause.  Despite the growing rise and popularity of organizational social media pages and accounts, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn were respectively ranked second, third and fourth most trustworthy.

At Public Interest Registry, we fully believe in the power of the Internet as a useful medium to spread knowledge, ideas and support for the common good. As the not-for-profit-operator of the .ORG domain, we have a responsibility to help maintain the integrity of the Internet by providing a trusted place online for organizations, companies and individuals to tell their stories and to mobilize their communities.

We were pleased to find that a large majority of all respondents (90%) associate a .ORG web address with the words “non-profit,” “trusted,” “exclusive,” or a combination of all three. Furthermore, nearly half (49%) of the respondents polled would choose to purchase a .ORG domain to relay information about a cause that they were passionate about. Other key findings include:

  • Assuming there are four websites, all with similar content but each with a different domain name, 39% of all respondents surveyed indicated they would trust .ORG the most; 23% chose .COM and 25% said they would trust them all equally (.ORG, .COM, .INFO, .NET).
  • In a time of crisis, 33% of all respondents would look for information on a .ORG, followed by .COM (31%) and .INFO (17%).

While these survey findings certainly help us validate our daily efforts to give more causes around the world a trusted online venue, they also demonstrate how audiences seek to connect with these causes and communities across the many Internet options available. As hundreds of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) become available online in the months ahead, Public Interest Registry is working with the global community of non-profit and NGOs to ensure that the transformations coming to the Internet expand the opportunities for organizations and their causes around the world.

Original post may be viewed here.