The Mosquito Suck Tour Conference recently visited King’s Christian Collegiate. It features Canadian comedians and entertainers like Rick Mercer, David Peck and Matthew Disero and Canadian Pop-Rock band Neverest, who entertain while they educate. Here, Katherine Lucas, a Grade 8 student from Trinity Christian School, with magician Matthew Disero.

The Mosquito Suck Tour Conference recently visited King’s Christian Collegiate. It features Canadian comedians and entertainers like Rick Mercer, David Peck and Matthew Disero and Canadian Pop-Rock band Neverest, who entertain while they educate. Here, Katherine Lucas, a Grade 8 student from Trinity Christian School, with magician Matthew Disero.

Anyone can read the statistics on malaria to a group of students, but an Oakville man has found a better way to educate students about one of the world’s biggest killers.

His method includes magic, comedy, live music and asking students to think up “over-the-top and insane ways” to kill mosquitos.

Oakville’s David Peck founded SoChange, which has brought its Mosquitos Suck: The Tour conference to schools across Ontario. Recently, it stopped by Oakville’s King’s Christian Collegiate, which hosted students from Glenburnie School, John Knox Christian School, Milton Christian School, Philopateer Christian College and Trinity Christian School.

“Do you guys believe you can change the world?” Peck asked the students. “That’s good news for issues like HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, and what we’re here to talk about today, malaria.”

The students learned there are 250 million cases of malaria per year and that more than 655,000 people die of it each year, including approximately 1 million deaths in 2010.

They also heard it only takes one bite from mosquito carrying the Plasmodium parasite to contract malaria.

“Within 30 minutes, that plasmodium is working through your bloodstream. It’s already starting to replicate in your liver. It’s ridiculous, it’s insane and it’s kind of terrifying. And you don’t know it’s happening,” Peck said.

“Within minutes of that, it’s moving further into your bloodstream and you know what’s happening? Those cells are starting to explode and they’re replicating more and the malaria is growing and spreading and you start to break down in fever. This can all happen in about two days. Believe it or not, within hours of being first infected by one of those mosquitos, you are going down.”

Peck started out as an electrician and in 1989 he went on a mission to Kenya, which opened up his eyes to social issues and started him towards his path of social development.

He became a public speaker and activist and founded SoChange in 2008. The organization partners with such organizations as Spread the Net, which was founded by Rick Mercer and Belinda Stronach, and Plan International, which is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies.

Spread the Net fundraises in Canada. Every $10 raised purchases one bed net, which can protect an entire family from bites at night, which is the most likely time a malaria-carrying mosquito will bite. Plan works on the ground, buying the nets locally in African nations, and distributes them to the people who need them.

The local students also heard a live performance from Canadian pop-rock band Neverest and participated in a magic show by magician/comedian Matthew DiSero.

“I thought it was a really good way to let students know what’s going on in other countries with malaria. I didn’t know it was such a big killing factor in these poor countries,” said Grade 8 Glenburnie student Madeleine Ellis.

For more information, visit www.dontbitme.ca .