What do you want for your birthday?

Bonde boy, Cooper Smith holding a basketball

Cooper Smith, Boy

Disclaimer: My son, Cooper is the biggest basketball fan of all time. Coop donated his 11th birthday to the malaria-fighting Nothing But Nets campaign. I don’t recall redirecting my presents to save kids in Africa at his age. It was pretty amazing when Coop got a shout out on national TV and then a video thank-you from Golden State’s Stephen Curry himself (during the playoffs!). Coop had no doubts before, but now he’s completely certain that doing good feels great. Cooper and Chris Helfrich, the Director of the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign collaborated on the below for The Huffington Post. -- Andy

 

Chris Helfrich, Director of Nothing But Nets

Chris Helfrich, Director of Nothing But Nets

As director of Nothing But Nets, I get to meet a lot of inspiring Americans doing amazing things to save lives by sending $10 nets to prevent malaria, a disease that still kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds. I’ve met a 13-year old Boy Scout who hiked 100 miles to raise money and awareness, an 8-year old who became the youngest girl to ever swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco in order to raise money to send hundreds of nets, and a fashion designer who has created a line of net-inspired accessories to send nets and save lives. In fact, since 2006 hundreds of thousands of people have joined our movement and raised $45 million to send over 7 million nets to keep families safe from this deadly disease. But an 11-year old boy challenging a basketball superstar to a fundraising contest? That’s a new one for me.

I was copied on a letter below that 11-year old Cooper sent to his idol, Stephen Curry, that demonstrates the fun spirit of the Nothing But Nets campaign and the fact that anyone can be a champion in the fight against malaria, whether you’re a 5th grader or the best basketball shooter on the planet. NBA Cares is a founding partner of Nothing But Nets and has been getting its fans and players excited about fighting malaria since the campaign was launched almost seven years ago. This is a perfect example of the power of this partnership in action.

Dear Stephen,

You are amazing. I hope you nail a bunch of three-pointers in the playoffs and help save a lot of lives.

I heard about your contribution to something called Nothing But Nets — for every three pointer you sink, you donate three Cooper in a netnets to a family in Africa to keep them safe from malaria. So I looked Nothing But Nets up on the web, and found out about how a kid still dies from malaria in Africa every 60 seconds. But it takes just 10 dollars to save a life! So, during my birthday last week, all my friends donated to Nothing but Nets. And we raised more money to help over 210 families protect themselves from mosquitoes! When you go to Tanzania this summer to help distribute nets, we’ll give you cards that we wrote for the kids over there to deliver along with our nets.

Can you do me a favor and sink a lot of three pointers in the playoff games? I promise I’ll raise a lot of money for Nothing But Nets if you do. Even more than you!

I may not be able to beat you on the court (yet!), but I bet I can beat you at raising money for Nothing But Nets. Game On, Steph.