Join the #TargetEbola fundraising campaign and help save lives

22 | 10 | 2014

The WOA, the representative body for Olympians worldwide, has today launched the #TargetEbola campaign to help combat Ebola in Sierra Leone and other areas in West Africa.

Ebola is spreading at the rate of five new cases an hour in Sierra Leone and it is projected that figure will double to 10 people an hour before the end of October. Official estimates are that 1.5 million people could be affected in West Africa alone by January 2015. Over one million people in Sierra Leone are currently in quarantine and because the virus can be passed on through perspiration, participation in sport at any level is prohibited.

Dr Francis Dove Edwin, two-time Olympian from Sierra Leone, has been appointed to the Presidential task force to help stop the spread of Ebola in the country and he and his fellow Sierra Leone Olympians have asked the WOA to help raise funds. 

In order to do this effectively, the WOA has joined forces with Oxfam, one of the world's leaders in emergency response, and US humanitarian NGO Medisend International, a global leader and innovator in transforming healthcare systems in developing countries.

Oxfam's teams are working with local communities to stop the spread of Ebola by ensuring people know how to protect themselves. They are also providing treatment centres and communities with safe water and sanitation facilities. Medisend International is training healthcare workers and shipping critical medical and personal protective supplies to doctors and nurses on the front lines of the battle against Ebola.

The fastest man in the world and six-time Olympic Gold Medallist, Usain Bolt, has donated a set of signed running spikes that will be put up for auction and Olympic legends Claudia Bokel, Sergey Bubka, Carl Lewis, Koji Murofushi, Pernilla Wiberg and Yang Yang are already supporting the campaign.

The WOA is also appealing to the rest of its 100,000 strong Olympian community around the world to get involved and publicise #TargetEbola, the donation link,, and the SMS details, Text TARGET to 70066 [UK only], by posting selfies via social media.

The #TargetEbola selfie kit can be downloaded here:

Olympians and the general public are encouraged to print off the kit and pose for a selfie. Alternatively anyone can write #TargetEbola, and the SMS number on a piece of paper and take a selfie with it.

To get the campaign started, the WOA has paid the costs for a 20ft container full of much needed mattresses and supplies donated by the Sierra Leone community in London being shipped to Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital.

Speaking at the campaign launch, WOA President, Joël Bouzou, said:

“My colleague, friend and fellow Olympian, Dr Francis Dove Edwin, and his fellow Sierra Leone Olympians have asked for our help in fighting  Ebola in Sierra Leone and this is something that the World Olympians Association will support with energy and resolve through the #TargetEbola campaign.

“We encourage our Olympian members to join in, spread the message and publicise this vital fundraising drive through their social media channels and any other means of communication available. We hope that we can galvanise the Olympic community and the general public and provide much needed support for the millions of people in West Africa who are affected by this terrible disease.”

Francis Dove Edwin, two-time Olympian and member of the Sierra Leone Presidential task force to fight Ebola, said:

“This is a critical time in our fight against Ebola and I encourage my fellow Olympians and the general public to back the #TargetEbola campaign and donate whatever they can. I would like to thank the WOA, Oxfam, MediSend International and Olympians everywhere for their ongoing support. Together we can make a difference.”

Sergey Bubka, Olympic Pole Vault Gold Medallist in Seoul 1988, said:

“I’m honoured to join my fellow Olympians and play a part in the #TargetEbola campaign. The scenes in Sierra Leone are desperately tragic and I encourage anyone who can to come together in the spirit of Olympism and make a donation to help those who are suffering.”

Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic Gold Medallist in Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta, said:

“The #TargetEbola campaign is a very worthy cause and drastic action is needed. I appeal to my Olympic friends to spread this vital message and I make a plea to anyone and everyone to come forward with a much needed donation.”

Claudia Bokel, Olympic Silver Medallist in Fencing at Athens 2004 and IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair, said:

"As chair of the IOC Athletes Commission I have already seen the power of Olympians to help make the world a better place. Olympians, both active and retired, are already involved in so many projects which benefit their local communities. I would ask everyone to also support #TargetEbola."

Olympic Gold Medallist in the Hammer at Athens 2004, Koji Murofushi, said:

“Every little bit helps and with the support of the Olympic Family, the wider sporting world and the general public we really can make a difference to millions of lives. In Japan we know that because of how the world united to support us two years ago with our own natural disaster.  So please donate anything you can to the #TargetEbola campaign.”

Pernilla Wiberg, Double Gold Medallist in Alpine Skiing at Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994, said:

#TargetEbola is a very important cause and I will help in any way I can. The time to act is now and I encourage my Olympian colleagues and the wider public to support the campaign.”

Yang Yang, Double Olympic Speed Skating Gold Medallist, said:

“We can all help stop the spread of Ebola. Please support #TargetEbola and give generously at so that we can help those living in fear and distress in the affected areas.”



Text TARGET to 70066 [UK only]