Thursday, September 6, 2012
Kiss a boo-boo. Pull out a splinter. Apply a band-aid. Go to well-child doctor appointments. Wait in an emergency room. Administer meds. These are the things I did to maintain my childrens' physical health. Luckily, my actions didn't have to include rescuing them from an early death. My three beautiful and accomplished children have grown up to be productive, active adults who are now busy beginning their own families, careers, and following their dreams.
Unfortunately, in some places in the world, seeing your child live to go to kindergarten is a hopeful but often unrealized dream for parents. So probable is a child's death in the first five years of life that mothers in South Sudan don't cry when their child dies because they expect it.
What is causing all this pain and suffering and death? What is silencing children's laughter? What is stopping these children from experiencing their first smile, their first tooth, their first step, their first word, their first day of school? A simple procedure we take for granted: a vaccine. One in five children around the world lack access to life-saving vaccines, sending nearly two million children to an early death every year. "That's about half the number of kids who enter kindergarten each year in the United States," says Devi Thomas, the director of the Shot@Life Campaign. Each of these children could have been saved if they had simply received a vaccine from preventable diseases and ailments like measles, diarrhea, pneumonia, and polio. Timely vaccines is one of the simplest and most effective ways to give every child a healthy shot at life.
Through the United Nations Foundation, the Shot@LIfe initiative was developed and aimed at getting Americans to champion vaccinations across the globe. Supporters of this initiative include Real Simple magazine (the campaign's official media partner), American Academy of Pediatrics, American Red Cross, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lions International, Rotary International, UNICEF, and thousands of parents just like you. The big groups provide resources to make the trips to developing countries possible to administer the vaccines. The vaccines themselves are partially paid for by regular people, donating a tax deductible gift to Shot@Life. Just $20.00 will immunize one child in a developing country for their life time. A life time that now has the chance of including all the childhood firsts....and seconds...and thirds.
I heard about this initiative and met people who work with Shot@Life when I went to evo'12 last July. I was overcome with emotion as I learned how many children are dying needless deaths and how little it takes to put an end to this tragedy. It doesn't take much time. It doesn't take much money. All it takes is a compassionate heart to reach out and make a difference. Do you have that kind of heart?
The memories, the photo albums, your children's very lives, are all evidence of the joy you have experienced watching your children grow. Wouldn't it be remarkable if you could help another mother experience this same joy? You can save a life.
Labels: Profound Pondering