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Malaria No More is working to keep a father's dream alive

Malaria No More Chief Marketing Officer Martin Edlund shares a moving story about why — as a father — he cares so much about the fight against malaria.

A child dies every 60 seconds from malaria. Yes, I know… another statistic.

Working in global health, it’s all too easy to become numb to these facts, to see human tragedy as an abstraction. That’s why I keep this picture (below) from a trip I took to Nigeria next to my desk.

I don’t know the father’s name. I don’t know what ultimately happened to the young girl he carried limp and naked into the clinic that day. But to me, that look of despair, anger, and utter helplessness on the father’s face tells the whole malaria story. It’s all the motivation I need.

Perhaps the photo resonates so powerfully for me because I have a daughter who is roughly the same age. Her name is Maret Bassett Edlund. Here’s her photo:

My wife and I got pregnant (okay, mostly her) while living in Senegal for Malaria No More. For 6 months, I lived with the nightly fear that one of the mosquitoes we could hear buzzing around our bedroom would slip into our mosquito net to bite my pregnant wife. Or that one might catch her when she made her all-too-frequent midnight dashes to the bathroom.

Now that we’re back in Brooklyn, I don’t have the same fear for our daughter. And when she does get a fever, we have the benefit of state-of-the-art medical care just around the corner. But for too many fathers malaria is a constant threat. Every single minute of every single day a parent loses his most precious possession to a goddamned mosquito bite.

The loss of any child’s life is a tragedy, but the loss of that life to something that’s entirely preventable and treatable is a crime. That’s why I want to challenge you to make a difference this World Malaria Day.

A child need not die this minute. Or the next. You can stop the clock. You can keep a father’s dreams alive.

In under a minute, you can make a life-saving difference in the fight against malaria. Make your next minute count.

Save a life. Share the facts. Sign the petition below to join Malaria No More and the UN Special Envoy for Malaria’s “Minute to #EndMalaria” campaign now. Because every minute counts.

Originally published on April 25 2012