After studying a host of different diseases and parasites in his 9th grade biology class, malaria planted a seed in the imagination of 14-year-old Leo Kleyman from Florida. He was inspired to act. Now aged 17, Leo has established his own fundraising foundation for malaria research, The LK Malaria Foundation, using music to encourage his supporters. He has pledged all that he receives to MMV, with his first donation totalling USD 200. MMV is grateful to Leo and applauds his effort and ingenuity.
Here’s Leo’s story:
1. Of all the diseases you studied in biology, what was it about malaria that captured your imagination?
It struck me that malaria is a big problem and one that can be solved, and in fact that isn’t far from being solved. It feels to me that with an extra push from across the world we can really crack it. Over here, malaria is not really advertised very well, so people aren’t aware of its impact. I wanted to do something to help.
2. How did you start fundraising?
I knew I needed to start somewhere and so I decided to create a website and foundation and use it to raise money. I made business cards that included the website and handed them out to family and friends. I also used Facebook and Twitter to draw people to the site. I’m a musical person and so I decided to add a clip of me playing the piano to the website to encourage people to donate. I explained it would really help me out too. It was a personal project for me.
3. Why did you choose MMV?
I was looking for a foundation to fundraise for and I found MMV. I was drawn to it because of its research focus. I looked at other research foundations, but MMV felt like the right one for me. I looked at the website, which I really liked and saw who the other funders were. It seemed to me to be a well-rounded and worthy foundation.
4. What’s next for you?
At the moment, I’m studying six subjects at high school and then plan to go to university. I would like to study something related to medicine, possibility neuroscience or to become a doctor.
In the meantime, I will continue to fundraise and spread awareness about malaria research and try my best to keep up with the website and continue supporting MMV.