Three teens set out on a quest to make a difference– one mile at a time


Like every good idea, it started with a goal: let’s have a life changing adventure the summer between our junior and senior years. That’s how Running from Malaria began back in November 2012. Since then Waverly-Shell Rock honor students Brad Wylam, Scott Van Daalen and Ethan Wise have been contacting churches, newspapers and radio stations to make their dream become a reality-- three teenagers-- 350 miles-- 21 days.

Saturday, they will stop in Clear Lake to shower, enjoy a potluck and share their adventure with all interested persons.

“I am someone who loves adventure and running across the state of Iowa with great friends and for a worthwhile cause makes it all the better,” explains Ethan Wise, a member of the WSR cross country team and state medalist in track and field.

Wise, along with fellow varsity cross country runner Brad Wylam, will take turns running the 350 miles across Iowa, while Scott Van Daalen will provide support. Their intention is to speak to as many churches and civic groups as they can on a route across northern Iowa beginning on June 11 in Hull and ending on the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque on July 2.

“We wanted to do something bigger than ourselves, that’s how we came up with the idea for Running from Malaria,” Van Daalen explained. “When we started Running from Malaria, we had been thinking and praying for something we could do, and by the Grace of God, He gave us this. Every day we hope to talk with radio stations, television stations, newspapers and whoever else we can talk to about our quest – to eradicate Malaria! Every 60 seconds a child dies from this disease, a disease that is preventable and curable.”

It’s not often that teenagers are willing to give up the bulk of their summer, but that’s exactly what the boys are doing. 

“Even though I am not an adult, I want to show that I can make a difference in the world,” said Wylam.

The runners average anywhere from nine to 33 miles a day until they reach Dubuque on July 2. Various United Methodist and ELCA churches along the route are providing overnight housing and meals for the trio. All donations made while they are on the road will go to either the ELCA Malaria campaign or to the United Methodist Imagine No Malaria campaign.

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