Students in Layton, Utah have very little in common with children in Africa. It is especially hard to find a common ground between a Veterinarian Technology program and a deadly disease creating havoc in many African countries. For one Vet Tech class at Broadview University though, the connections became very clear.
Vet Tech students in the Parasitology class are learning about parasites and one of the deadliest around is malaria. Malaria is the number one killer of children in Africa…even more than AIDS. And with a child dying every 30 seconds in the world from malaria, Vet Tech instructor Pat McCavanagh knew there was a way her Parasitology class could help.
McCavanagh, who sponsors a child through Compassion International heard about a program called Bite Back. The program raises funds to buy mosquito nets, which are used to protect children from the disease that is transmitted through mosquito bites. Mosquito netting is one of the primary ways to combat the spread of malaria and the fundraising effort for this cause has no boarders.
Once the class began its quarter, Pat sprung her idea of the Bit Back Walk-A-Thon on her students. “I asked them, would you be on board?, And they said, let’s do it,” noted McCavanagh. “The students were excited about it and they got students from other classes involved.”
Students and staff sold bracelets leading up to the walk and raised money through pledges. On the day of the walk, students, staff, friends and family walked around Barnes Park in Kaysville to come together for a common cause while gaining some perspective.
Just after the walk, the group had collected over $700, enough to buy 70 nets and is still tallying pledge donations.
The Vet Tech program is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, which gives graduates the opportunity to work outside of Utah. The idea that these students may be working in remote locations further connected the students to the cause.
“Just because we don’t see it right now, doesn’t mean we won’t see it in the future,” added McCavanagh. “It’s a global economy, so who knows.”