In a motivational piece that would make Vince Lombardi proud, Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly called upon all sports fans in the May 5th issue of Sports Illustrated to think outside the box about a word so closely associated with sports: nets. Specifically, mosquito nets – or insecticide treated malaria nets – and how many lives could be saved from the deadly disease malaria with just one $20 donation. Demonstrating his passionate commitment to malaria prevention, Reilly himself committed $20,000 in personal funds to the cause.
“We need nets. Not hoop nets, soccer nets or lacrosse nets. Not New Jersey Nets or dot-nets or clarinets. Mosquito nets” Reilly said in his column. “We gotta get these nets. They’re coated with an insecticide and cost between $4 and $6. You need about $10, all told, to get them shipped and installed. Some nets can cover a family of four. And they last four years. If we can cut the spread of disease, 10 bucks means a kid might get to live. Make it $20 and more kids are saved.”
Every 30 seconds an African child dies from a malaria infection transmitted by a mosquito bite. Every day 25 million pregnant African women risk severe illness and harm to their unborn children from a malaria infection. Malaria can be prevented through a simple, inexpensive measure: sleeping each night under a net treated with insecticides that kill mosquitoes or stop them from biting.
“So, here’s the ask,” Reilly writes. “If you have ever gotten a thrill by throwing, kicking, knocking, dunking, slamming, putting up, cutting down or jumping over a net, please go to a special site we’ve set up through the United Nations Foundation. The address is: www.UNFoundation.org/malaria. Then just look for the big SI’s Nothing But Nets logo and donate $20. Bang. You might have just saved a kid’s life.”
Since Reilly’s column posted on-line at approximately 2 p.m. on April 25th, the UN Foundation has raised over $160,000 (including Reilly’s generous kick-off) from nearly 3,000 individual donations. The UN Foundation will not charge any overhead or administrative fees, meaning that every cent from a donation will go where it is needed most: malaria prevention through the provision of insecticide treated nets.
“Sleeping under nets treated with insecticide is the most effective means of preventing malaria in Africa,” Andrea Gay, UN Foundation’s Director of Children’s Health, said. “Theoretically, if every person in Africa slept at night under a net, no one need ever die of malaria again. Rick Reilly’s commitment to malaria prevention is remarkable and the UN Foundation wholeheartedly thanks him for his passion and generosity.”
To read Rick Reilly’s inspirational column in Sports Illustrated, please click here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/rick_reilly/04/25/reilly0501/index.html
To help provide insecticide-treated nets to African families for protection against malaria, please donate to www.unfoundation.org/malaria or send a check to 1225 Connecticut Avenue, NW Ste 400, Washington, DC 20036. Please include “malaria nets” in the memo field of the donation.
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through its grant making and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Elizabeth Alexander or
Amy DiElsi at 202-887-9040