Surf 4 Katie contest raises $20,000 to help former H.B. High surfer who has rare illness

Supporters of former Huntington Beach High School surfer Katie Berry gathered Saturday near the Huntington Beach Pier for Surf 4 Katie, a surfing contest and fundraiser designed to help Berry and her family with medical care and costs as she fights Addison’s disease.

Mary Vasquez, a senior at Edison High School who organized the contest, said Monday that the event raised about $20,000, twice the original goal.

Addison’s is a rare disorder in which the adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. When the body is under stress, such as with an injury or infection, the cortisol deficiency can be life-threatening. Treatment involves taking hormones to replace those not produced by the adrenal glands.

Berry suffered a heart attack in January 2016 that left her in a coma for a month and a vegetative state for six weeks after that, according to her mother, Brenda.

She recently had surgery to close a tracheotomy opening that she had in her throat for 11 months, and she can’t speak. But her condition has been improving steadily, Brenda said.

And on Saturday she was on the beach to greet people attending the contest and even went into the water to wide a wave with the help of Mighty Under Dogs, a group that sponsors and participates in charity surfing events.

Donations to Berry’s cause can be made at