Her friend, Marina, was moving to LA from New York and had her boxes shipped to my house, since they were driving across country and no one was home at the new place in Venice. When I dropped the boxes off, Marina and I walked to the beach for coffee. That's when Ronda came back, found my van in her garage and had a bit of a panic attack, going off about how she couldn't park her new BMW on the street and how hard it is to find parking by the beach. In my usual sympathetic manner, I said,
Check yourself! Your biggest problem is that you temporarily can't park your $130,000 car that the UFC gave you in the garage at your house on the beach. You do realize that some people have real problems, don't you? Take one minute to think outside of yourself. You have some money and a bit of celebrity now. Is there any group of people you feel strongly about helping?
Instantly, Ronda answered,
Eating disorders. People with eating disorders. No one is doing anything for them.
Her friend, Wetzel said,
Well, there has to be somebody. Let's think of a celebrity with an eating disorder.
There was Karen Carpenter, but she died - of anorexia
In fact, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. The cost of treatment is high and often not covered by insurance. Despite that, you don't see a lot of discussion or fund-raising. It's not an illness that has adorable babies tugging at your heart strings and pocketbook. Eating disorders are much higher among elite athletes than in the general population, and much higher among athletes in judged sports (like gymnastics) and sports that have weight categories (like wrestling and judo).
Wanting to find a credible organization, I contacted one of the staff members for the Didi Hirsch clinic, who happens to have lived on the same street as us since we moved to Santa Monica in 1997. She told us how hard it is to find the funds to give the therapy needed by teenagers (and even some younger kids) with eating disorders.
SO ..... Ronda decided to start the Ronda Rousey Fund. Any money raised between now and March, she'll match with a check of her own, up to a total of $5,000. One way to make sure that at least $5,000 gets raised is that she'll be doing a clinic shortly after her fight. The facility will be donated as will Ronda's time. All the money from the clinic will be donated to the Didi Hirsch fund for youth with eating disorders. This is only the second clinic Ronda will have done since she started MMA and there are not any plans for her to do another one any time soon. It will be in Los Angeles. I'm pretty sure I know where it is going to be held but since it is 1:30 a.m. in LA and I am out of town, I'm not going to call Ronda now and ask her. I don't really know a lot of the details, but I will post them here as they get hammered out in the next few days. I think the clinic will be limited to 50 people or less and the cost will be $100 or more. I also expect a few spaces will be raffled off.
If you can't make it to the clinic but want to help, you can send a check with the note "Don't throw up, throw down" to
Vice President, Development
4760 Sepulveda Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90230
You can also donate online here. In the menu where it says "I am giving in response to" pick OTHER and type Ronda Rousey Fund in the box below it.
If you don't have any money but would like to help another charity, there is also the free rice group, you can join and donate rice. I'd think a good prize for the top donor could be a space at the clinic - but I don't know so don't count on that. It definitely would not be transferable.
As I said, details are being hammered out now - just thought it was interesting and I would post a heads up. Anyone with fundraising suggestions, please chime in.