Guinea worm is a parasitic disease contracted by drinking water contaminated with larvae. Inside the human body, the larvae mature into long, spaghetti-like worms that eventually exit the body through painful blisters in the skin. The crippling pain leaves victims unable to work or attend school, sometimes for months, until the worms completely emerge from the body. (Photo by Louise Gubb of the Carter Center.)
History buffs on your holiday gift list will be flattered when you donate in their name to help the Carter Foundation make history by eradicating the Guinea Worm.
The foundation is very close to eliminating this alien monstrosity. There are only 6 countries left with the disease, reporting 4,600 cases. That's down from 3.5 million cases in 1986. Help them finish up quickly.
Eradication requires two things:
- Getting people to drink filtered water so they don't get the parasite to begin with.
- Containing the infected person during the time the worm crawls through their skin.
Having a worm crawl through your skin is excruciating.
If you are not convinced this gift is worthwhile, read Sadia's Story, provided by the Carter Foundation:
Triumph Over Guinea Worm (2008)
In 2007, Sadia Mesuna—a young girl from Savelugu town in Northern Ghana—spent two agonizing months in a Carter Center Guinea worm containment center with 20 other children suffering from the disease. Today, Sadia, 7, is Guinea worm-free and has returned to school. This is her story of triumph and a new life without fear.
Sadia Mesuna, 6, was in agony in February 2007 as three Guinea worms emerged from her feet, forcing her to spend two months at the containment center. "It was very painful, especially when they were dressing my wounds," Sadia said. "It feels more painful than stepping on fire coals or being cut. And you don't feel like eating anything."
After treatment, Sadia recovers in a quiet corner, also rediscovering her sense of humor as she dons a volunteer's sunglasses, worn upside down.
Sadia returns some days to her school, but after her two-month absence with Guinea worm disease in 2007, she struggles to cope and catch up.
"I'll only drink filtered water from now on," vowed Sadia.