NASCAR champion fights malaria

Carl Edwards, the NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion and driver of the 99 Aflac Ford in the Spring Cup Series, has partnered with nonprofit organization Malaria No More.

The announcement came just before Edwards took the track on Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a stadium that seats close to 257,000, which is equal to a third of the 781,000 people who die from malaria each year, according to the organization.

Edwards, a former substitute teacher, is spending the remainder of the NASCAR season learning about malaria in advance of a planned trip with Malaria No More to Africa this winter. The "Ride Along with Carl" campaign will allow Edwards and those who follow him to learn about the potentially deadly but preventable disease.

"I recently learned that malaria used to be a huge problem in the United States, including in my home state of Missouri," Edwards said. "But we solved it here and now America is leading the race to end malaria deaths around the world. I invite my fans to 'Ride Along' with me and see how they can help."

Edwards released a public service announcement inviting fans to donate a life-saving $10 mosquito net to a family in Africa.

"I have two young children at home," Edwards said. "It's unacceptable that anyone should lose their children from a mosquito bite. Malaria still kills a child every 45 seconds, but simple tools like a $10 mosquito net can change that."