Senior founds organization to help fight malaria

It may not affect many people within 1,000 miles of Foggy Bottom, but senior Chris Beatty is hard at work raising money and awareness for one of the world’s most deadly diseases.

Beatty is the founder and leader of the GW Team to Fight Malaria in the worldwide Madness Against Malaria tournament.

“We’re trying to raise money to stop one of the world’s deadliest diseases,” Beatty said. An insect-borne pathogen, malaria kills approximately 3 million people a year and is the world’s largest killer of children, according to the tournament’s Web site.

The Madness Against Malaria tournament is a global competition where teams of varying sizes and ages around the globe strive to raise the most money. At the end of February, the top 64 teams that have raised the most money will square off in a series of head-to-head matches like the NCAA’s March Madness. The team that raises the most money will be the winner of the Malaria Cup.

The money raised from the tournament will go almost exclusively to providing mosquito netting to children in impoverished countries. As each net costs $5 and lasts approximately four years; a donation of $80 would protect a child from mosquitoes and therefore the carriers of malaria for his or her entire life.

As of Wednesday, the GW team had raised $290, or enough money for 58 nets.

“At this point I’ve just tried to get the word out, and I hope people will see that it’s a worthy cause and donate what they can,” said Beatty.

Beatty first got involved in the fight against malaria when he participated in the International Fast Against Malaria last May and realized how destructive the disease is.

“(The fast) was a creative way to raise money for a great cause,” said Beatty, who also held a Keg for Malaria fundraiser party before the fast.

Upon returning to school this fall, Beatty contacted Rob Mather and Lance Laifer, the organizers of the Madness Against Malaria tournament. Beatty founded the GW team and began raising money through private donations.

“Chris just jumped in and instinctively knew what he had to do,” said Laifer, the organizer of the International Fast and World Swim for Malaria. “He has an almost indefatigable desire to help others.”

Beatty also started an online group on Facebook for his team that boasts 44 members. The group encourages students to “forget those 2 slices at Pizza I at 4 a.m. and help a kid.”

“It’s worth it to toss $10 towards something that can save lives and help some kids have a better life,” said senior Heather Shelby, a member of the GW team. “It’s not a huge expense when you think of everything we spend money on at GW, but it does make a difference.”

Senior Greg Kershaw, another member of the team, added, “It’s really easy and simple, and you could save a child’s life.”

Students who are interested in participating in the tournament can raise money for the GW team, or start their own team. n

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