It’s not uncommon for wrestlers to give selflessly of themselves for worthy causes. Quite often, we’ll hear about a competitor making appearances for charities or being part of shows that benefit individuals or non-profit organizations.
But the work being done by TNA’s red-haired siren SoCal Val takes a bit of a different twist than those you regularly see advertised on websites; to help her favourite charities, Val has taken the viral approach, using Twitter to reach out to her fans in support of her causes.
Using the social media platform is natural for Val, real name Valerie Wyndham. From the time she was a little girl, Val has always been charity-minded and has used her status to gain support for the causes she holds dear.
“I have a really great mother that always instilled that in us that however much you’re making or contributing, there are others that are less fortunate, and there are ways to give back,” Val told SLAM! Wrestling “With me being such an online promoter, even before I got into wrestling, I knew the importance of self-promoting and I feel like that’s a really good tool to use for charities and to use your celebrity [status] in a good way.”
One of the charities that Val has been especially close with is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), who Val has already undertaken various projects for. Val herself currently owns two dogs that were rescued.
“Maybe, to me, it was second-nature to provide shelter to animals,” she said. “If you go to an animal shelter and you look into the faces of the puppies and kittens, what else do you want to but help?”
Val’s charitable efforts have largely been associated with giving opportunities to fans that they ordinarily wouldn’t have.
“In my online store, I sell a lot of my dresses and things I wear on TV and proceeds from that will go to charity,” she said.
Val has also started using her own time to raise money for the ASPCA. At times, the Knockout will offer up the opportunity for fans to go for lunch with her, benefiting the organization.
Part of the inspiration that Val has had to work for charities has come from her co-workers in wrestling, including former TNA Knockout and WWE Diva Shelly Martinez, who Val describes as having, “such a giving, fun spirit about her.”
The two have been passing around the idea of teaming up to do a larger fundraiser together.
“We always talk about getting together, getting the girls to sign one item of clothing or everyone to donate something with all the proceeds going to our favourite charity,” Val noted.
Val has also drawn charitable inspiration from others around her in the wrestling business, pointing in particular to a hardcore legend.
“Mick Foley is one person I find really inspiring. He’s such a giving person,” she said. “His charity of choice is RAINN (Tori Amos’s foundation) … and Mick has given so much. He does a lot of projects we don’t know about because he’s just that type of person. He’ll try to spread the word about how you can help and at the same time, he’s not out bragging about what he’s doing and I think that’s so commendable.”
SO CAL VAL STORIES
- Mar 9, 2011: So Cal Val chats about life in and out of TNA
- Aug. 22, 2010: So Cal Val: ‘I feel like I am twice as busy’
- Jan 24, 2006: So Cal Val: Setting a prime example