Imagine No Malaria Hits New Milestone
Nearing its $75 million fundraising goal, Imagine No Malaria (INM) continues to spark interest in United Methodist and secular circles. After the launch of the #Give10 Challenge and announcement of a Susquehanna Conference pledge that brings campaign to over 90 percent of the goal, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton and Rev. Tom Willard, pastor of Camp Hill UMC were interviewed on Harrisburg area radio station WITF.
Bishop Bickerton leads the denomination's Global Health Initiative and Rev. Willard contracted the disease while on a mission trip to Sierra Leone two years ago.
The #Give10 Challenge social media campaign echoes the origins of INM, which grew out of Nothing But Nets, an effort through which a $10 gift could buy a mosquito net to protect a family from the mosquito which carries the virus. Through the #Give10 Challenge, donors can help raise the final 10 per cent of the denomination's fundraising goal. The ultimate aim is to end death and suffering from malaria through prevention, communication, trained health workers and facilities, and grassroots education. Much progress has been made.
At a Nov. 16 press event at Camp Hill UMC near Harrisburg, Bishop Bickerton joined Bishops Jeremiah Park of the Susquehanna Conference and Peggy Johnson of the Eastern PA Conference in Harrisburg to announce the $1 million pledge from the Susquehanna Conference. See photos from the press event at Flickr.com/photos/wpaumc.
Bishop Bickerton was instrumental in involving the Church in Nothing But Nets and has led INM since its start in 2010. At the press event, he received a check for nearly $150,000 from Bishop Park toward the Susquehanna Conference pledge.
During the event, children from the Camp Hill church preschool (CHUM Preschool) and The Children’s Center sang a medley of “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “This Little Light of Mine” and “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands.” While they sang, a multimedia presentation played on a screen above them showing children in Africa whose health and lives are threatened by malaria, a reality that Imagine No Malaria and other global partners are working to change.
“We thank Bishop Park and United Methodists throughout Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania who have made this pledge. We also thank United Methodists throughout the world whose fundraising efforts have resulted in $68 million in cash and pledges for Imagine No Malaria,” Bishop Bickerton said. “Today’s announcement is a celebration for all United Methodists, who serve as a testimony to what we can achieve when we unite for a shared vision of a world without malaria deaths.”
He also shared congratulatory remarks from Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, who heads the President’s Malaria Initiative in Washington, D.C.
“What a remarkable achievement! The United Methodist Church’s delivery on their commitment of $75 million in support of your Imagine No Malaria campaign is unprecedented and has set the bar very high for other faith-based partners,” Ziemer said. “Imagine the thousands of lives that have been saved and the families that have benefited from less malaria in their homes and communities. I recently visited Zimbabwe and saw firsthand the fantastic work that The United Methodist Church is doing.”
At the press event, and in the Nov. 30 radio interview, Rev. Williard shared his personal story of contracting the disease and seeking treatment at home.
In the Western Pennsylvania Conference, where Bishop Bickerton has served as leader since 2004, United Methodists have raised more than $2.1 million for Imagine No Malaria. The efforts included fielding teams of Imagine No Malaria runners in the annual Pittsburgh Marathon. Over five years about 150 runners, led by Dr. Bob Todd of Christ Community UMC in Butler, raised about $75,000.
In Eastern Pennsylvania, local congregations have raised more than $250,000 through a variety of fundraising activities. Johnson said her conference’s fundraising experiences have ranged from 5K races to bake sales, many engaging youth.
Children and youth have been involved in many INM fundraising efforts throughout the U.S., donating pennies from their piggy banks, setting up lemonade stands, requesting Imagine No Malaria donations for birthday gifts, and employing other innovative and generous means.