SPECIAL GUEST AUTHOR: Chris Long
This morning, I woke up and brushed my teeth then hustled downstairs to grab a handful of water bottles for a morning workout. After my workouts, I’ll take a 10-15 minute warm shower and some days I’ll jump in the hot or cold tub to get my body back in shape. Before noon, I’m sure I’ve poured, lathered, and sang my favorite song in countless gallons of water. Literally, countless because I’ve never stopped to count and measure how much water I’ve consumed. I’ve never wondered or stressfully asked myself, “Will the faucet run dry today?”
In America and many countries around the world, this is more than a thought. Sadly, it’s the way life is and how it always was. For me – and for most of us – we take water for granted and it truly is a luxury. We use it to clean the dirt off our kids when they roll around outside or to gobble down on a humid summer day. Consuming water and staying hydrated is a key principle that is preached to me, and all NFL players, so we can stay healthy and safe on the field.
When I took my trip to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, I thought I was in for a trip of my life – for the thrill of reaching the top of the world. It wasn’t just the trip of my life, but it was the trip that changed my life. For the rural communities in East Africa, suffering touches adults and children daily because of a lack of clean, accessible drinking water. The impact of water scarcity affects not only their health and life expectancies, but extends to limitations on educational, economic and agricultural opportunities. When it comes to education, children – most often the girls – stay at home with their mothers to collect water. Agriculturally, these communities can grow rich crops with clean water. As a result, they’d be able to provide food for their households and sell for income, which would impact the economy. The unavoidable health implications are severe as water-related diseases cause nearly 1 in 5 deaths of children under the age of five. And 50% of the world’s hospital beds are filled with those suffering from water related illnesses.
The good news?
It’s preventable. That is why I started Waterboys and I am thankful to my family, NFL brothers, and supporters around the world who have joined in the cause to provide life-giving water to these communities in need. To date, we have funded 59 clean water wells through Waterboys – reaching nearly 500,000 people – and we are hopeful that we are on the path to preventing water-related illnesses and reversing the negative trends that are plaguing these communities due to water scarcity.
Change is possible and we’re inching closer every day. To learn more about our mission and how to get involved, visit www.Waterboys.org.
Thanks for reading,