By Daniel R. Gangler
One million people will die of malaria this year and 75 percent of them will be children. Every thirty seconds a child in Africa dies of malaria. For $10 anyone can save a family from this terrible experience by funding a net that will last five years.
That was the reality and hope expressed by Bishop Tom Bickerton of Western Pa. during the Nothing But Nets breakfast, on July 23, attended by more than 140 pastors and lay leaders from across Indiana at the University of Indianapolis. He said, "We can eradicate malaria in our lifetime."
Bickerton was the lead speaker for the event sponsored by the United Nations Foundation and hosted at the University of Indianapolis and Bishop Mike Coyner.
The UN Foundation was in Indianapolis this week to promote Nothing But Nets with United Methodists and a new partner, the nationally-famous musical group The Jonas Brothers, who announced their partnership with BNB during a Wednesday night concert at Verizon Wireless Music Center.
Adrianna Lagalbo, spokesperson for the UN Foundation, said Ted Turner, founder of the foundation wanted to partner with the Methodists to eradicate malaria because the UMC was connected and has been in Africa for more than 150 years. The denomination agreed in May to raise $100 million for Nothing But Nets which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The breakfast included short testimonials from five United Methodists who have either encountered malaria and its devastation or who had raised funds for NBN $10 at a time. B.J. Larson, a United Methodists and middle school teacher took the NBN idea to introduce her seventh graders to this great need for bed nets to protect children from disease-carrying mosquitoes and has raised more than $11,000. Hoosiers have raised more than $100,000 to date to fund 10,000 bed nets that will be distributed through the United Methodist Church in Cote d'Ivorie (Ivory Coast) in West Africa.
During the breakfast, $1,350 was left of the tables to protect 135 families from malaria.
NBN was recognized again at Thursday night's Fever game with Minnesota at Conseco Field House. For more information, log on to www.nothingbutnets.com.