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Nursing students launch campaign to help fight malaria

By Marcia Porter

Spread the Net, the campaign co-founded by Rick Mercer and Belinda Stronach to help end malaria deaths in Africa, has come to Memorial's St. John's campus.
Students from the School of Nursing recently launched Spread the Net to raise awareness and funds for the purchase of life-saving, anti-malaria mosquito nets.

"I have been to Kenya and Malawi where malaria is present and it is heartbreaking to see the devastation that malaria causes," said Sarah Whalen, who is heading up the student-led campaign. "Something as simple as a $10 mosquito net is out of reach for most families and it can prevent such terrible disease."

Ms. Whalen's team includes nursing students Kaleigh Newton and Luke Redmond from the School of Nursing and Jessica Bailey from the Centre for Nursing Studies.

"During my time in Fort Portal, a rural town in Uganda, I had the opportunity to meet the most amazing people," said Ms. Newton. "The people I had the privilege to speak to during my stay are a huge reason why when Sarah came to me I was so inclined to be a part of the Spread the Net campaign."

The team hopes to raise $1,000 to purchase 100 anti-malaria mosquito nets for Spread the Net.

During the launch, students pointed out that the nets are purchased in countries where they are needed and also provide a benefit to the local economy.

Ms. Whalen took on the project as part of her clinical experience in Dr. Sandra MacDonald's fourth-year course on complex care.

"Sarah's enthusiasm for the campaign is contagious, so when she approached me to ask if she could use some of her clinical time to co-ordinate Spread the Net, I said 'Yes!'"

It's the second time in recent years that the Memorial community has taken up the cause to help end malaria deaths. In 2008 students at Grenfell Campus raised just over $3,000 for Spread the Net.

Over the next several weeks, the nursing students will hold special events to raise money for the campaign.

Learn more about Spread the Net by going to www.spreadthenet.org. For more information about Spread the Net on the St. John's campus, contact sarah.whalen@mun.ca.

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