Members of Kansas City’s soccer community recently met with US Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II to share the objectives of Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria in Africa. Brookside Soccer Club Executive Director Nick Garcia joined his former Kansas City Wizards teammate Diego Gutierrez (a national spokesman for Nothing But Nets) for the sit-down. Rep. Cleaver also heard from two Brookside Soccer Club families about the organization’s efforts to team up with Nothing But Nets to raise money for the campaign.
“Because soccer is a global sport, we can get kids to develop a global perspective of this disease through this campaign,” Nick Garcia told Rep. Cleaver. “We can’t ignore our responsibility to help others, and Diego’s participation in Nothing But Nets demonstrates one way children in one part of the world can help save children throughout Africa. And it’s done with a simple, trusted solution — a bed net.”
Nothing But Nets, along with the United Nations, delivers bed nets to families in Africa to help protect against malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Malaria is a leading cause of death among children in Africa and hanging nets in homes can reduce the incidence of malaria by 90 percent.
“The fact that this terrible disease is preventable and treatable is something we found astonishing,” said Diego Gutierrez. “There are children out there dying every 45 seconds because they don’t have a simple bed net over their heads. As a former soccer player, nets played an essential role in my life too, but it did not mean life or death.”