Since 2006, hundreds of thousands of people have joined our movement and raised $45 million to send over 7 million nets to keep families safe from this deadly disease. But an 11-year old boy challenging a basketball superstar to a fundraising contest? That's a new one for me.
According to the World Health Organization, 650,000 people still die every year from this preventable disease, and most of those people are children under five years of age. Stop here and let that sink in: 650,000.
One can certainly say that throughout history it's been individuals who have turned the tide against evil and entropy. What's changed in this age of social media is the extent to which -- and the speed with which -- warriors for good can be assembled.
As a professional basketball player, I have had amazing opportunities to use my talents, to play with the best players in the world, and even to represent my country in the Olympics. All of those opportunities began at home.
"This is a critical moment. Our gains will be lost if we do not move forward to defeat these diseases. We can't stop now. We have a historic opportunity to completely control these diseases. It is 'invest now or pay later.'"
As a child, I was clueless to the level of poverty we were living in. Mom raised us to work as hard as possible at whatever task was before us, be willing to help others in need and be grateful for what we are given... all lessons that made the foundation of who I am today.
The Kakuma refugee camp is mostly women and children, resilient mothers who grabbed their little ones and braved a dangerous journey to escape conflict. Thanks to UNHCR, they are safe from violence; now, their enemy is a mosquito.
Malaria is responsible for over 40% of deaths in health care facilities across Cameroon. This means that thousands of children -- as well as adults -- in this West African country die each year from an easily preventable disease.
This year I'm rethinking my holiday shopping list. I recently traveled to the Central African Republic, where the UN has identified an urgent need for mosquito nets. My experience was life-changing, and the people from my trip are always on my mind.
We're a small group of people doing a small thing, driving down a junked up, dusty road to hand one family a malaria net. But the more nets we're able to buy, the more children get to grow up and tell us their stories.
As an immediate, easy, and inexpensive way to tackle the disease, bed nets are an ideal remedy for this population in particular and are an indispensable component in the broader fight against malaria.