As part of our GivingTuesday series, we asked our supporters to tell us why they became involved in END7, and what they’re doing to make a difference. To submit your story, email Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org
I first heard about Neglected Tropical Diseases from Dr. Peter Hotez, author of Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases. I had read the book over the summer and was fascinated with the extent to which NTDs prevail throughout the world, especially as something I had never heard of before.
I then had the privilege to meet with Dr. Hotez to ask what I as a student could be doing to make a difference for people suffering from NTDs. The answer he gave profoundly impacted the way I see the world. Dr. Hotez encouraged me that advocating for NTD treatment did not have to begin only when I had graduated from medical school, equipped with the necessary tools to treat affected persons. He convinced me that through involving the UT community, with a student body of over 50,000 and one of the most extensive and organized alumni networks in the country, I could begin to raise awareness right away.
Immediately I accepted the challenge, and it has been an incredible journey learning how to reach out and advocate for NTDs. It is incredible to think that for just 50 cents a year, we can spare someone from the horrible fate of living with a deadly and disfiguring disease! Realizing this has completely changed the value I place on things in my life (is that dress really worth $100?), and has challenged me to make sacrifices in the way I spend my time and money.
Now, through END7 at UT, I am able to put my passion for fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases into direct action. END7 at UT is reaching out to the UT and greater Austin communities to educate people about NTDs. Our goal is to enlighten the public to the widespread suffering that is silently prevailing across the developing world. We believe in health as a human right and want to educate and raise funds for the implementation of successful public health interventions such the Rapid Impact Packages that END7 works to distribute. Overall, having the opportunity to participate in ending NTDS has been an incredible honor, and I cannot wait to see what END7 at UT will be able to accomplish.