Imagine No Malaria

PARKERSBURG – The first Imagine No Malaria campaign fundraiser held in Parkersburg brought together more than 70 people Saturday in City Park.

“We are members of area United Methodist churches,” said organizer Deborah Shaffer. “There is a worldwide effort to eradicate malaria in Africa and this event is part of that.”

The event had 74 people take part, including volunteers, with about a dozen different United Methodist churches throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley that helped with the event and fundraising, Shaffer said.

Saturday’s event at City Park was a two-mile walk, run or bike. It was expected to raise $1,630, which will join funds raised through other events to equal about $3,000. These funds will join a 14-month worldwide initiative from the United Methodist Church to raise $75 million, of which roughly $60 million has been raised. April is the final month of the campaign.

The hope is to eradicate malaria in Africa, where a child dies of the infectious disease, caused by parasites and transmitted through a bite from an infected female mosquito, Deborah Shaffer said.

“In the last 10 years, through the work of the United Methodist Church, we have been able to decrease the number of deaths by half,” co-organizer Rich Shaffer said of the international effort. “It used to be that a child died every 30 seconds, so we are moving in the right direction.”

Williamstown resident Martha Boykin, a member of Logan United Methodist Church, said she ran the two miles on Saturday because she wanted to help.

“I just want to contribute and make a difference,” she said. “I hope the children saved learn how to persevere in life.”

The funds raised through the campaign will be used to purchase mosquito nets and provide training on how to properly use the nets. As a demonstration, a mosquito net with large fake insects was hanging from a rafter of Shelter 7 at City Park during the event.

“We want people to know what their money will go towards,” Deborah Shaffer added.