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Something worth fighting for

Eileen Lynch | Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yesterday I spent $5.95 on a Pizza Pollo at Recker’s. It tasted like happiness, as always. It also cost the same as about 12 human lives.

Let me explain.

This week is ND Fighting NTDs Awareness Week. NTDs are Neglected Tropical Diseases, a collection of chronic, preventable diseases that plague over 1.4 billion people worldwide. That’s 20 percent of the global population. All of these diseases can be treated or prevented for just 50 cents per person per year.

NTDs are chronic parasitic illnesses. They cause unimaginable suffering: malnutrition, respiratory illness, debilitating, painful blindness, paralyzing swelling of the limbs, mental retardation — the works. The medicines to treat NTDs have been developed and donated by major pharmaceutical companies, but we have no way of physically getting them to the people who so desperately need help.

That’s why ND Fighting NTDs is launching a major initiative around campus this week to raise money and awareness. Here’s a quick overview of the events you don’t want to miss: free Einstein bagels in front of Debartolo on Monday and Tuesday, a documentary screening on South Quad Monday evening, a faculty panel to discuss various solutions to global health problems on Tuesday in Geddes Auditorium and a Dirt Cup Dessert Sale in Lafortune on Thursday.

If you are starting to feel really guilty about your latest Starbucks coffee, don’t. I don’t feel guilty about my pizza, but I will go to Five Guys on Wednesday evening after 7 p.m., because 15 percent of all proceeds will be donated to fight NTDs. And I will indulge in a Dessert Cup on Thursday (buy one with FlexPoints!) to help the cause. And yeah, for the chocolate, too.

But really, why should you care? Well, these diseases are major humanitarian problems. Their symptoms collectively slow down economies, prevent children from reaching their full mental capacity and imprison entire populations in a cycle of pain, poverty and illness. This is a truly social issue, so I hope I see you at our events. NTDs are fixable, and as a proud member of the Fighting Irish community, I will happily fight to end the neglect. So should you.

Eileen Lynch


Ryan Hall

Oct. 2