A Coalisland malaria survivor has successfully completed a challenge to raise awareness for the deadly disease and for global poverty.
Denise Donnelly, took part in the ‘Live below the line’ campaign where she had to live on just £1 per day, for 5 days as part of an initiative to raise awareness of the 1.2 million people worldwide who are living below the poverty line.
Having visited Sierra Leone last Summer and experiencing first hand the devastating effects of poverty and disease in the country, Denise decided to raise money for charity Malaria no more UK.
Denise contracted malaria while she was in Sierra Leone, but her symptoms did not manifest until she returned home.
She told the TIMES: “I suffered from it quite badly and was very ill. The doctors told me that I had the deadliest strain of the disease and that my parasite count was at 7% when 2% is considered extreme, they couldn’t understand how I was still alive.”
Describing her challenge of living on £1 per day for 5 days, Denise said it was do-able but you don’t feel great while doing it: “After the first couple of days you stop feeling hungry and you just have like an empty feeling. The most depressing part of it is you are going to the shop and you know you have this budget and you have to stick to it. It is the fact that people can’t even live on what they need, it is not about buying what they want, they literally cannot buy what they need to survive.”
Denise described how she experienced migraines and even caught a stomach bug during the five day challenge, which she said made her feel “extremely tired and lethargic” so much so she found it difficult to concentrate at work.
She added: “It really gives you an idea that there are actually people in your own community, who are living like that every day as well as the developing countries. Just £50 can train a nurse in Botswana to diagnose and help treat malaria, it is really good value for money. It never does any harm to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”