I have been participating in extreme running challenges for the past few years to raise awareness and funds for causes and campaigns making a difference in Africa.
Starting on 25 September 2016, I’ll be competing in one of the most extreme races yet – the Grand to Grand Ultra in the United States. This race involves running 6 stages, 7 days, and 170 miles (273 km) from the Grand Canyon to the Grand Staircase in Utah.
I’m dedicating my participation in the race to support the END Fund, an organisation at the forefront of efforts aimed at controlling and eliminating the most prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa.
Over 1.6 billion people globally, including 875 million children, are affected by one or more of these diseases. Examples of NTDs include intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, trachoma, and river blindness.
I met the END Fund’s CEO, Ellen Agler, in October 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda, and in learning about their work, was inspired to do more.
The good news is that NTDs are both treatable and preventable. Because of the low cost, NTD treatment is considered the “best buy” in public health. Studies have shown that NTD treatment is the most cost-effective way to keep children in school by increasing school attendance, as well as concentration and capacity to learn.
Furthermore, Sub-Saharan Africa could save $52 billion by 2030, and gain the equivalent of 100 million life-years, if the region meets the World Health Organisation’s 2020 control and elimination targets for the five most common NTDs.
These statistics should inspire everyone involved in the fight against NTDs to intensify and accelerate their efforts. As a result, I’m using my participation in the Grand to Grand Ultra to raise both awareness and funds for people suffering from NTDs in Africa.
- $25 helps treat 50 people at risk of NTDs for one year
- $40 supports one essential eye surgery to prevent blindness from trachoma
- $100 helps treat 200 people at risk of NTDs for one year
- $250 helps treat 500 people at risk of NTDs for one year
- $500 helps treat 1,000 people at risk for NTDs for one year
Together, we can END NTDs in Africa!