First Lady Laura Bush Commends 'Madness Against Malaria' for Its Creative Fundraising Effort

14 Dec 2006
PR Newswire
NEW YORK, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- "Madness Against Malaria," a unique international fundraising event based on the March Madness basketball tournament, was commended for its efforts by First Lady Laura Bush during her speech at the White House Summit on Malaria on December 14, 2006. Specifically, Mrs. Bush cited the campaign as an example of how the power of the Internet could be creatively harnessed to fight malaria.

Through Madness Against Malaria, teams around the world are competing against each other to see which can raise the most funds to combat malaria. On March 1, 2007, the top 64 teams will be pitted against each other, knockout style, mirroring the NCAA basketball tournament. On April 16, the winning team will be announced, but of course all participants win the satisfaction of helping to save lives, and the real winners are those in the impoverished villages plagued by malaria who will benefit from these efforts.

Each year, malaria kills one to three million people -- 70% of whom are children under five -- yet it is entirely preventable and treatable. 100% of funds raised through Madness Against Malaria will be used to purchase long-lasting insecticidal bed nets, which cost a mere $5 apiece and are extremely effective at preventing malaria as they protect people from being bitten by mosquitoes while they sleep.

Raising funds, however, is only one goal of Madness Against Malaria. Equally as important is using the global reach of the Internet and the power of email to raise people's consciousness about malaria so that they encourage world leaders to take action. In order to completely eradicate the disease, cooperation is needed from governments, the U.N. and other international bodies who could enable the use of pesticides, drain swamps, and enact other large-scale measures.

Lance Laifer, co-founder of the Madness Against Malaria tournament, said, "We are gratified to be recognized by the First Lady for our efforts to bring the passion of sports to the urgent fight against malaria. We believe that if people bring the same level of commitment and enthusiasm to fighting malaria that they bring to rooting for their favorite sports teams, we can save many lives and eradicate the scourge of malaria."

Anyone, anywhere in the world, can participate in Madness Against Malaria, which is completely web-based. A team can be made up of one individual, a group of friends or family members, a sports or recreational club, or a business or charitable organization. Current teams include groups from the U.S., England, Denmark, Switzerland, Kenya, Cameroon, Israel, Nepal, and a number of other countries around the world. The event website tracks participation in real time.

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About Madness Against Malaria

Madness Against Malaria was set up by Lance Laifer (Hedge Funds vs. Malaria) and Rob Mather (WSM Foundation). For more information visit: www.MadnessAgainstMalaria.com .

About WSM Foundation

The WSM Foundation, which is registered in the UK, US, Australia and a number of other countries, is committed to fighting malaria by raising funds and awareness through innovative, participatory events. Importantly, 100% of funds raised by the foundation are used to buy long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), which end up over heads and beds-all of which is clearly showcased on the Internet. Other campaigns include World Swim Against Malaria, which raised more than $1.5 million last year to purchase 300,000 bed nets; and Fast Against Malaria. For more information visit: www.AgainstMalaria.com .

 MEDIA CONTACTS: MADNESS AGAINST MALARIA CONTACTS: Kristina Ferrari Lance Laifer kristina@dukaspr.com vs.malaria@gmail.com 212/704-7385 203-899-0657 Sean Carney Rob Mather sean@dukaspr.com rmather@btinternet.com 212/704-7385 +44 (0) 20 7371 8735 / 8744