McCullum backs HIV and AIDS campaign
12 September 2007
Neil McCullum wears two caps – star cricketer for Scotland on the pitch as well as a physical education teacher.
Squeezing in training sessions and international cricket play when his day job allows, Neil also manages to make time in his busy schedule to support the ICC’s HIV awareness programme by visiting children infected with or affected by the illness.
In Nairobi earlier this year to face for the ICC World Cricket League, Neil together with a number of his team mates paid a visit to a local school for children living with HIV to coach a chosen few in the art of cricket.
The visit was part of the ICC’s partnership with UNAIDS and UNICEF to raise awareness and reduce stigma around HIV and the impact of AIDS on children and young people through the global campaign ‘Unite for children, United against AIDS’.
“We started with a group of six,” related Neil. “But soon more and more children joined in until the entire student body of 60 boys and girls surrounded us, clamouring for our help with their bowling and batting technique!”
Smiling at the memory of the visit, Neil then became thoughtful. “My visit that day was a massive eye-opener to the situation of these children,’ he said. “I was touched by their positive spirit and terrific enthusiasm.” He added: “It was a very moving experience and will remain a lasting memory.”
When he returns to his own students in Scotland, Neil makes a point of sharing his experiences with them to increase their awareness of HIV and to help reduce the stigma often associated with AIDS.
“It is important that young people at home are aware of the disease and of the situation of young people in other parts of the world who may be less fortunate,” explained Neil. “It is important that we come together around this issue and tackle it as a global community. The world must unite against AIDS.”
In South Africa to play in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 2007, being held from 11 to 24 September, Neil, his teammates and all players of the 12 competing teams will be wearing red ribbons to show their support for children and young people infected with or affected by HIV in nine games of the tournament, including the final, to be televised around the world: ‘Uniting the world against HIV and AIDS.
Read more on the ICC Twenty20 World Championships
Read more on Unite for Children: Unite against AIDS