When Mandy George contracted the most deadly strain of malaria, the doctors did not expect her to survive.
The 34-year-old from Newton was helping with the earthquake relief effort in Haiti, when she was suddenley struck down and found herself in intensive care.
After battling jaundice, pneumonia and multi-organ failure, Mandy has lived to tell the tale, and furthermore is now raising awareness and funds for Malaria No More UK.
From March 31-April 4, Mandy lived on £1 a day to reflect the daily reality of those who live below the poverty line, ahead of the national Live Below the Line Week on April 28-May 2.
Mandy spoke to the Journal about her experiences.
How did you find the challenge of living on £1 a day?
It was definitely a challenge but it was totally doable. I was surprised at how you can make £1 go a very long way. It made me very aware of many things I take for granted normally, not only in terms of the types of food I buy but also choices around the type of social life I have. I definitely had no budget for eating or drinking out!
How did you get involved with the earthquake recovery effort in Haiti?
I was working for the British Red Cross in the UK when the earthquake happened and decided that I wanted to go out to Haiti and get involved in the relief and recovery effort. A job came up that looked up my street so I applied and before I knew it, I was living in Port-au-Prince for over two years until I got malaria and had to leave.
What do you remember about contracting malaria?
It was a unique and terrifying experience. I got an intense fever, like I’ve never in my life experienced before. It was all downhill from there, until I ended up in a coma in intensive care. I’m so lucky to be alive thanks to having excellent medical care and being able to have access to that care, that so many people don’t. This is why I’m fund-raising for Malaria No More UK, who are saving lives every day from this terrible disease. I want to give a little something back, out of gratitude for still being here to tell this story.
What would you say to anyone considering doing the Live Below the Line week?
I would say don’t even think twice; just sign up and take the challenge! It’s a great thing to experience living below the line and putting yourself in the shoes of those who have to live on £1 or less for absolutely everything. It really makes you think and appreciate your life and what you have. And it’s a great way to raise money and save lives. Any amount can help, for example every £1 I am raising for Malaria No More UK will go towards saving lives in Africa. It costs less than a cup of tea to save a life... Surely that’s worth a challenge?
You can still sponsor Mandy by visiting www.livebelowtheline.com/me/mandyjgeorge, or to sign up to do the Live Below the Line challenge yourself and raise money for Malaria No More , Global Poverty Project or one of 30 other participating charities, go to www.livebelowtheline.com/uk