Former U.S. first lady Laura Bush and Major League Baseball pitching legend Rick Sutcliffe have joined the advisory council of World Vision's “End Malaria” campaign.

They join Ray Chambers, the first U.N. Special Envoy for Malaria; Malaria No More CEO Scott Case and Congressman Donald Payne (D-NJ), in committing to assist and advise efforts to fight malaria and save the lives of millions of children around the world.

Malaria kills nearly 1 million people a year, 85 percent of whom are children. World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization working in 64 malaria-endemic countries, last year launched an initiative to boost prevention and treatment activities in hard-hit areas and strengthen advocacy to improve government policies and increase resources.

“Each of us can do our part whether we are public leaders, notable athletes or simply concerned Americans, and we thank our advisors for dedicating their time and talents to combat this leading cause of death for babies and young children in the developing world,” stated Richard Stearns, president of World Vision. “This is a disease that can be prevented, treated and defeated.”

This is not the first time Mrs. Bush has collaborated with World Vision to fight malaria. In June of 2007, she met with local caregivers and visited a training center for household-based care providers in Zambia supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Zambian government. During her time there, she helped assemble caregiver kits with bed nets to equip households against malaria through the World Vision-led RAPIDS coalition (Reaching HIV and AIDS Affected People with Integrated Development and Support).

Rick Sutcliffe brings not only a personal passion to the fight against malaria, but also a track-record in rallying others on good causes. The 3-time all-star garnered many honors during his 18 years in Major League Baseball, including the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1979 and the Cy Young award in 1984. He has contributed to ESPN’s “Monday Night Baseball” as an analyst and also covers Major League Baseball’s World Series, internationally. Sutcliffe said he is eager to capitalize on his resources and experience with teamwork to help make a difference.

“I strongly believe in World Vision’s mission to end malaria and make the world a better place for children. It is a privilege to join them in this campaign,” said Sutcliffe. “Working together as a team with supporters at home and a strong presence in the field, we can strike out this preventable, killer disease.”

The End Malaria campaign aims to reduce illnesses and deaths from malaria, contributing to the global goal of near zero preventable malaria deaths by 2015. World Vision distributes insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent infectious mosquito bites and works in partnerships to ensure nets, prevention training and medicines are available in impoverished communities where needed.

The campaign also focuses on raising awareness of the global impact of malaria in the United States to garner new resources and expand the growing movement to end malaria. Among the goals is to increase U.S. government funding to combat malaria to at least $1 billion a year.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

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