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By: Chris Helfrich

A special thank you from a mother in Rwanda

June 8, 2017
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Because of the generosity of so many of our caring supporters, we were able to exceed our ambitious World Malaria Day 20,000 net goal.

But what this really means is that more than 40,000 vulnerable children will now be protected from deadly malaria.

If you ever doubt what impact your nets will have, let me tell you about Yvonne and her family. I met her recently at a clinic in the Gihembe refugee camp in northern Rwanda.

Her 6-year-old son George was being treated for an infection. She sat next to his little hospital bed with a big white bed net hung above it, just like every other bed in the clinic.

I began talking to her and she told me about when she and her neighbors had to flee their home in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to escape the fighting and how she is now a single mom doing her best to raise her three children in a refugee camp.

As our conversation continued, I asked her if her children had been sick with malaria. She quickly responded, “No.” I was floored.

Malaria is so prevalent in this region that nearly every adult and most children have had it at least once and many mothers have lost young children to this disease. I thought I was simply asking her a rhetorical question about her family’s experience to open up a conversation with her about prevention.

But seeing the shocked expression on my face, Yvonne quickly explained to me how diligent she is about making sure her children always sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, starting on the night that each was born.

For emphasis Yvonne added, “Every single night.”

Not only does Yvonne demonstrate just how effective bed nets can be to protect children, but she made me realize that if we can get enough bed nets to enough families, one day we may have an entire generation of children who will never know the fever, pain, and all too often, death that this terrible disease brings.

That’s why even though we surpassed our World Malaria Day net goal, we must continue to press forward with all vigor in the coming summer months.

I want to do more than send nets to families. I want to Cover Africa and one day stop this disease for good.

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