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'Running from Malaria' gets a running start

Hebrews 12:1: "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." So reads the banner headline on the "Running from Malaria" website, which until a few months ago was just an idea in the heads of three high school juniors in Waverly, Iowa.

Scott Van Daalen and Brad Wylam are members of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Waverly, and Ethan Wise is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Waverly, where his mother Deborah is the pastor.

Brad Wylam, Scott Van Daalen, Ethan Wise
Brad Wylam (left), Scott Van Daalen and Ethan Wise prepare to run for the ELCA Malaria Campaign and the United Methodist's Imagine No Malaria.

"We wanted to do something bigger than ourselves," Van Daalen said. "Something important. We kept thinking and praying about it, and we wanted something that both the Methodist and Lutheran churches were a part of."

Inspired by the ELCA Malaria Campaign and the UMC's Imagine No Malaria effort, the youth planned a "Running from Malaria" fundraiser with proceeds to be divided between the two programs. (The ELCA donation was doubled, thanks to matching funds from Wartburg College in Waverly.)

Cross-country runners Wise and Wylam took turns running the 350 miles across Iowa while Van Daalen provided support. On the way, they wrote blogs, posted entries to Facebook and Twitter, and made stops at churches, radio stations and newspapers to further one message: malaria must be eradicated.

"One child dies of malaria every 60 seconds," Van Daalen said. "And it's preventable and curable. This has to change."


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