Valdez, Alaska, advocate Sheri Beck recently held her fourth annual Bite Back Run on the last day of May, and the community showed up to make a huge difference. Sheri’s letter to the local newspaper is a great example of communicating appreciation and the significant impact race participants continue to make in the fight against malaria.
An African Proverb states, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, spend the night in a closed room with a mosquito.” Folks in Alaska understand this concept well. One irritating buzz from a quick maneuvering mosquito can drive you crazy! Although the inevitable bite is bothersome, it has never been deadly to me.
That’s why I’d like to thank the people of Valdez for supporting the Bite Back Run for the last 4 years. Rain or shine, runners and walkers have shown up to participate in this race that has earned money for Compassion International’s Malaria Fund. This year alone our community raised enough money to buy 140 insecticide treated nets for children living in areas with the infected anopheles mosquito. One bite could mean death or at the very least debilitating symptoms for its recipient. For the 2,000 children that die each day from malaria, a life-saving net can change the story. Thank you, Valdez, for making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children!
And there’s more good news! “Worldwide between 2000 and 2012, estimated malaria mortality rates fell by 45 percent in all age groups and by 51 percent in children under 5 years of age, and most of them (3 million) were kids,” according to the World Health Organization’s 2013 Report. Our town’s contribution has contributed to cutting malaria’s mortality rates in half in the last 12 years! That’s something to celebrate! What could we accomplish in the next 12 years? Sydney Haase commented, “Africa puts a whole new perspective on things that are easily overlooked when you have medical services at your fingertips. I’m very grateful that this is something my hometown supports. It makes me very proud” I agree! We really are changing the world, one child at a time. Malaria Bites! Bite Back!
At the starting line of the
Fourth Annual Bite Back Run in Valdez, Alaska.