Soccer hero takes aim at Malaria

    TORONTO, April 24 /CNW/ - Spread the Net marks World Malaria Day on April
25th with the exciting announcement that Jim Brennan, captain of the Toronto
FC, has joined the campaign as the newest ambassador and the latest prominent
Canadian working to save lives and eradicate malaria.
    Jimmy and his teammate Dwayne De Rosario, a champion for the US campaign
Nothing But Nets, will be working with Spread the Net in Canada to encourage
Canadians to help protect families and children in Africa by donating
life-saving bed nets.
    "A child dies in Africa every 30 seconds because of malaria," said Jim
Brennan. "This is totally unacceptable given that a simple $10 bed net is the
solution. I hope Toronto FC fans will join with me in spreading the net over
as many vulnerable people as possible."
    Spread the Net is a grassroots campaign in partnership with UNICEF Canada
that strives to motivate, educate and inspire Canadians to raise and donate
money for the purchase and distribution of $10 anti-malarial bed nets. Founded
in 2006 by Belinda Stronach and Rick Mercer, Spread the Net has raised $3.7
million and delivered 370,000 bed nets - putting it well on its way to its
founding goal of sending 500,000 bed nets to children and families in Liberia
and Rwanda.
    Malaria is a ruthless killer, claiming the lives of more than one million
people each year; 90% of these cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Adding to
the human devastation and loss caused by malaria, the economic cost of the
disease to Africa is estimated at a staggering $12 billion a year.
    As part of World Malaria Day efforts, the Right Honourable Tony Blair, in
partnership with The Belinda Stronach Foundation, revealed this week the eight
young Canadians who will work together and with faith communities on the Faith
Acts Fellowship - a program that will bring together members of various faith
communities to join in the fight against malaria. "Faith communities around
the world have historically achieved great things to combat global problems. I
believe that by faiths coming together to tackle the problem of malaria
deaths, as part of a global coalition, we can really prevent this disease,"
Mr. Blair said.
    "The global campaign to fight the disease is growing," said Ms. Stronach,
who also serves as chair of Malaria No More Canada. "It's up to us to do our
part. When something as simple and inexpensive as a $10 bed net can save
lives, we can't afford not to be part of the solution."
    In the lead up to WMD, Spread the Net also received support from
musician, Ian Thornley who held a CD release party and raised funds for 3000
nets. GlaxoSmithKline also joined the campaign by contributing 1000 nets and
launching an employee campaign.

    About Spread the Net

    Spread the Net is a largely web-based campaign designed to educate,
motivate and inspire Canadians to help eradicate malaria by fundraising to
support the purchase and distribution of anti-malarial bed nets. The campaign
was founded in 2006 by Belinda Stronach and Rick Mercer and is powered by an
innovative partnership with UNICEF Canada. For more information, please visit .

    About UNICEF

    UNICEF is the world's leader for children, working in 156 countries and
territories to save, protect and enhance the lives of girls and boys. UNICEF
supports child health and nutrition, promotes quality basic education,
protects children from violence, exploitation and AIDS, and is the world's
largest provider of vaccines for developing nations. A global leader in
emergencies with six decades of on-the-ground experience, UNICEF saves and
rebuilds children's lives in natural disasters and conflict. UNICEF is funded
entirely by voluntary contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations,
schools, associations and governments. For more information on UNICEF Canada
please visit

    About The Belinda Stronach Foundation

    The Belinda Stronach Foundation is dedicated to advancing human potential
through individual empowerment and social change. Working in partnership with
individuals, other foundations, nongovernmental organizations and businesses
small and large, the Foundation is currently active within and beyond our
borders in confronting challenges and creating opportunities in three key
areas: Girls and Young Women, Aboriginal Youth and Global Initiatives. More
information can be found at

    About The Tony Blair Faith Foundation

    The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was founded by the Rt Honourable Tony
Blair and launched in May 2008. The Foundation's goal is to promote respect
and understanding between the major religions, to make the case for faith as a
force for good and to show this in action by encouraging inter-faith
initiatives to bring people together to tackle global poverty and conflict.
Faiths Act Together is the social action programme of the Tony Blair Faith
Foundation. The programme encourages multi-faith initiatives to tackle global
poverty by working towards the Millennium Development Goals, with an initial
focus on eliminating deaths from malaria, bringing people together across
faith divides to achieve even more together than they can apart. More
information can be found at and

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: on Spread the Net or The Belinda Stronach
Foundation please contact: Tiffani Steer, Director of Programs, (416) 531-1919
ext. 227 or; For more on the Toronto FC please contact:
Michelle Lissel, Media Relations, (416) 815-5400 x5399; For a list of the
eight Canadian fellows please contact Joseph Shapiro, Interfaith Youth Core in
the USA: (cellular) (847) 404-9473

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