As we countdown to World Malaria Day on April 25, we want to recognize some of our champions and the awesome ways they’ve incorporated their passions for sports to raise awareness and send nets to save lives. This month, we want all our supporters to take a challenge and help send 25,000 bed nets by World Malaria Day. Our champions inspire us and we hope they inspire you too. Take a challenge now!
Sportswriter Rick Reilly helped launch Nothing But Nets when his 2006 Sported Illustrated column asked people to give $10 to send a bed net. Reilly called on his readers who have “ever jumped over a net, watched the New Jersey Nets, worn a hair net, or surfed the net” to donate. Since then, the campaign has raised enough funds to send more than 7 million life-saving nets across sub-Saharan Africa.
Every year, Elisabeth hosts a community swim-a-thon, engaging swimmers at her local pool in Springfield, VA to “swim a lap and save a life.” In 2011, the swim-a-thon raised over $5,000 dollars, sending 500 bed nets to families in Africa. Elisabeth’s motto? “If a five-year-old can be a lifesaver, then so can you!” In addition, she also started a “SWAT” team at her church as a call to action to send nets and save lives.
Former Chicago Fire defender Jared Montz spent more than 40 days juggling across the United States to fight malaria. As a part of Soccer Walking America, players were encouraged worldwide to “juggle to get better, juggle to save lives” for Nothing But Nets. Montz traveled more than 18,000 miles and juggled with players in 42 cities to help send nets to families in Africa.
11-year old Cooper Smith has no problem challenging one the greatest basketball shooters on the planet, Stephen Curry, to save lives around the world. Last year, Cooper asked all of his friends to forgo birthday gifts and to instead donate to Nothing But Nets, raising money to help 210 families protect themselves from malaria. But Cooper didn’t stop there – he even sent a letter to his idol Stephen Curry challenging him to a fundraising contest.
Stay tuned next Friday for four more champion stories!