Be the Cause

Project to buy and ship malaria nets to the Akado Women’s Clinic in Mbita Kenya

Heart, Hope and Love/Nets for Nets you to can help prevent malaria to save childrens lives

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. …10 bucks means a kid might get to live….

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. … 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 kids…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?

Dunk Malaria at the LA Marathon… and Tom Arnold

Not only did they run 26.2 miles, but they also got up at the crack of dawn to find parking. We didn’t make it quite that early. When we arrived, the runners were already in place to run the Twenty First Los Angeles Marathon. Among the 25,000 participants were a few friends of ours. We were there to cheer them on and to cheer on the countless other strangers that were challenging their own boundaries, that were pushing their own potential to the limits, that were staring fear and exhaustion in the face. Perseverance prevails.

In addition, we were raising awareness of the Malaria epidemic that takes more lives than AIDS and Cancer combined. As part of the Dunk Malaria concept we set up nerf basketball hoops and allowed people to take a free shot. With each shot, we were able to educate the participants on this preventable deadly disease. Some statistics say that a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria. It is absurd to think that as each attendee was taking one basketball shot, another child somewhere in the world was actually disappearing.

People were very receptive and we were surprised to find how many people actually knew about the epidemic. Malaria isn’t a well-known disease in the United States because its affect is typically felt in countries with higher concentration of mosquitoes. The United States, at one time, did have a Malaria problem, but as the problem has waned here so has the interest in preventing it.

One of the easiest ways of preventing Malaria is through the use of a mosquito bed net. A net can be placed over the bed of a sleeping child and mosquitoes will no longer be able to enter to infect the child. The basketball nets we were using for the Dunk Malaria program are symbolic of the same bed nets.

To our surprise, even sports announcer/actor (and ex-husband of Roseanne Barr) Tom Arnold showed up to take a Basketball shot. Although he stepped closer to the actual basket, and although he took two tries, he did make a shot.

I guess everyone was out doing good that day: Tom Arnold, a few of us who were educating people on one of the deadliest diseases on earth, and 25,000 other people who were pushing their lives to the next level. As we were driving around the marathon course to find our friends, we saw a man with only one leg, hopping towards the finish line with crutches. He would actually finish the marathon in a little over 6 hours. He had completed one mile for every 14 minutes with only one leg.

My friend Jason was running for the first time in his life. He said he did it for the following reasons:

I run to silence the ego, I run because I’m a different person within and without, I run for those who physically can not, I run for those who believe they can not, I run for those who have lost hope…in themselves and others, I run for those who feel stuck in their lives, I run for those who don’t believe they can change, I run because I can.

>> Read Jason’s blog entry:

>> Read the highlights from the 21st Los Angeles Marathon

>> … and read more about our Malaria Campaign and how you can get involved


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