In 2006, Rick Reilly’s groundbreaking column, titled "Nothing But Nets," appeared in Sports Illustrated. Readers learned that it only takes $10 to cover the purchase, distribution and education to ensure that a bednet makes it into a mother’s hands, into a home, and over a bed to save the life of the child sleeping under it.
A Simple Call to Action
Rick’s column sparked a movement that has raised more than $50 million to help our partners at the United Nations and other international organizations deliver more than 7.5 million bed nets to protect families in Sub-Saharan Africa from malaria. In just seven years, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign to send nets and save lives, conveying the message that ending this disease is a global—and personal—priority.
Over the years, Rick hung bednets in Tanzania and Nigeria, appeared on the Colbert Report under a bednet, challenged NBA stars like Stephen Curry to fight malaria, and represented the campaign in countless other ways to spread awareness and raise funds to cover Africa with live-saving bednets.
Last year, Rick traveled with Nothing But Nets to Tanzania’s Nyarugusu refugee camp to deliver more than 38,000 bednets to refugees stricken by malaria. In a camp population of approximately 68,000, there were more than 62,000 reported cases of malaria in 2012. Joining Rick on the trip to Tanzania was NBA star Stephen Curry, who launched his own “Three for Three Challenge” – donating three bednets for every three-pointer he made during the season. Stephen went on to break the NBA’s single season record for most three point shots (272). The challenge, also supported by Rick, ensured that the entire population at Nyarugusu’s refugee camp are covered with bednets.
Rick’s latest column on ESPN.com about the trip drew praise and support from the sports community, igniting even more to join the fight against malaria.