Jim and Miriam Ross had heard the name Ronald Ross before, but it wasn’t something they thought about when Alice Benson, an ELCA Foundation regional gift planner at the time, approached them about donating to the ELCA Malaria Campaign.
The members of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Fairfax, Va., listened to the help the campaign was offering as part of its goal to raise $15 million by 2015 to support work in 13 companion churches in Africa. "I try to give to things like disaster relief, so I said sure. Malaria is particularly hard on children,” said Miriam, referring to the fact that one child dies from malaria every minute.
Soon after agreeing to make that donation, the Rosses were talking to their youngest son about the church’s malaria work. “He said to me, ‘That’s really interesting because you remember that old relative on dad’s side. He was a doctor who won a Nobel Prize for his research in malaria,’” Miriam recalled.
Sure enough, Miriam checked a book prepared by her father-in-law. It’s believed that Jim’s great-great-grandfather — the first Ross to come to America from Scotland — was a cousin to Ronald Ross. Born in 1857 India, the British Ronald Ross became a doctor in the early 1880s and soon after began studying the effect of malaria and how to reduce infection rates.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers