“It nearly killed me.”

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I don’t know what it feels like to contract Malaria, but Orlando ONE member Kristen Kenney does. I met Kristen a few weeks ago and was blown away by her story and her efforts to help others survive the disease. While we work to urge our elected officials to support robust funding for the Global Fund and other U.S. initiatives to end the worldwide burden of diseases like malaria, Kristen and others continue to push the message on the local level. Her story below is inspiring and reminds me that ONE person can make a difference:

I thought I had seen the world. But jet-setting from one first-class resort to the next left me utterly helpless when reality struck. It nearly killed me.

I found myself in sheer panic, screaming and staggering down a street in Tanzania, begging for someone to get me to a hospital. The pain was unbearable, the fear unimaginable. I had contracted malaria, Africa’s most deadly disease.

How could that be? I was a visitor. I told them I had the money, fix me.

I awoke in a hospital bed. There were women all around me, praying for my survival. In Africa, malaria kills a child every 30 seconds, most families too poor to pay the nominal fee for life-saving medication.

I returned to America weak of body but with a resilient mind, determined to fight for the lives of those who couldn’t fight themselves.

You see, I believe that not only can one person make a difference; one person must make a difference I know I can save lives. And I know that you can too.

I was saved by Malaikas, the African word for Angels. But there are millions of others who may die unless they, too, find an angel.

I created Malaika for LIFE, to purchase life-saving malaria medication through the sale of bracelets, made by hand by the women of Tanzania.

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