Last week on April 20, 2006, at the University of California, Irvine, the Social Science Plaza was transformed into a small sports arena containing both a basketball hoop, some cheerleaders, some faculty and many students, as we held a successful awareness/fundraising event for malaria prevention as part of a nationwide effort called Dunk Malaria/Nets for Nets. The event was generously cosponsored by several campus organizations, Global Connect @ UCI, the Social Sciences Dean’s Ambassador Council and ASUCI. Late in the morning professors helped launch the event with a faculty shoot off including the baseball cap clad, Associate Dean of Social Sciences,Caesar D. Sereseres, who took a few practice shots and then competed too. At lunchtime a spirit pep rally drew in a large crowd including the UCI Baseball team, who all volunteered to dunk and were joined by a couple of Laker Girls who volunteered their time to help out this worthy cause. We raised awareness by displaying an actual bed net and handout and by providing an outdoor, portable hoop for all who wanted to take a shot. All funds collected are going to our Heart, Hope and Love project. This week an article appears in Sports Illustrated that really brings home the point of this effort to eradicate this preventable disease, to save the lives of children. You want help, wonderful you can donate to Heart, Hope and Love by sending a check or by buying our online Gift of Giving Gift certificates. Click here for more about Heart, Hope and Love/ Nets for Nets project and how to donate.
Note: Nets for Nets has received national press coverage. Below is an excerpt from the piece columnist Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrates wrote in the May 1, 2006 issue of Sports Illustrated.In order to see the entire article you will have to go to the Sports Illustrated site and be subscribed, this is not a pitch for Sports Illustrated but rather we only are allowed to print an excerpt of the article. The nets for the Heart, Hope and Love project are $8.00 dollars each, inclusive of shipping and installation.
I’ve never asked for anything before, right? Well, sorry, I’m asking now.
We need nets. Not hoop nets, soccer nets or lacrosse nets. Not New Jersey Nets or dot-nets or clarinets. Mosquito nets.
See, nearly 3,000 kids die every day in Africa from malaria. And according to the World Health Organization, transmission of the disease would be reduced by 60% with the use of mosquito nets and prompt treatment for the infected.
Three thousand kids! That’s a 9/11 every day!
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. â€¦10 bucks means a kid might get to liveâ€¦.
I tried to think how many times I have said or written the word “net” in 28 years of sports writing, and I came up with, conservatively, 20,000. So I’ve already started us off with a $20,000 donation. â€¦ Together, we could come up with $1 million, net. How many lives would that save? More than 50 times the population of Nett Lake, Minn.
I know what you’re thinking: Yeah, but bottom line, how much of our $1 million goes to nets? All of it. Thanks to Ted Turner, who donated $1 billion to create the U.N. Foundation, which covers all the overhead, “every cent will go to nets,” says Andrea Gay, the U.N. Foundation’s Director of Children’s Health.
One last vignette: A few years back, we took the family to Tanzania, which is ravaged by malaria now. We visited a school and played soccer with the kidsâ€¦A taped-up wad of newspapers was the ball and two rocks were the goal. Most fun I ever had getting whupped. When we got home, we sent some balls and nets.
I kick myself now for that. How many of those kids are dead because we sent the wrong nets?