Sure, I’ve written blog pieces for other groups that are out there floating in cyberspace, but I never set myself up to put everything out here for everyone to read, on my own, until now.
But recently I was introduced to more than 45 pieces of inspiration by attending the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Advocacy Summit and meeting some of the most amazing blogger moms/dads. These are the people who actually inspired me to get writing! They have proven that change can happen through words and people can be moved to action by their voice. The Shot@Life Summit called all of us “Champions”. And I guess that is what we all are, in our own way. We are all champions of something, so why shouldn’t it be change?
So…here it goes:
Immediately after returning from the Shot@Life summit I had to take my 4 month old puppy to the vet. (stick with me on this one…there is a point, I promise!) At his appointment, Sully, my new Goldendoodle, was set to receive multiple shots to help keep him healthy and safe. While I stood in my vet’s office with my new furry friend I immediately thought of my recent trip to DC and those mothers, whom I had just learned more about who are unable to protect their children from disease, and sometimes death. But, here I am, able to make the choice to vaccinate my dog from canine flu. How crazy is that? This is one of those moments when you realize how very fortunate we are in the part of the world we live in. We have a choice. Some families chose not to vaccinate, others chose to do it and to each their own. But what I learned, and saw, during the summit that I attended in D.C. was enough to make you stop and think about how fortunate we are to have access to something as simple as vaccines to save lives.
I have been lucky enough to give birth to two healthy children that are the joy of my life. And both of my children have been vaccinated, by choice. I have seen their first smile, watched them roll over and walk. I’ve seen them ride a bike, start school and go to their first sleep over. I am lucky. I have been able to see them grow and learn and contribute to the world around them.
In parts of the world there are mothers, just like me, who are robbed of those same amazing moments for reasons that can be prevented. Some mothers will never see their child talk, walk, giggle or crawl. They will never send their child off to the first day of school or teach them to kick a ball. They will never watch them swing from a tree branch or run a race. These children will die before they ever get the chance. They will miss out on moments of childhood because of diseases that could have been stopped.
Let me share these facts to put it in perspective:
- Around the world, some moms walk as far as 15 miles to make sure their child receives life-saving vaccines.
- Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease.
- 1.7 million children globally don’t have access to vaccines.
- Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.
Could you imagine losing your child to something as simple as diarrhea? I can’t. But It happens every day, somewhere else.
But because I believe that every child deserves a chance to a healthy life, no matter where they live, I am committed to giving all children a shot at milestones, moments and making their own change in the world. So I ask you to join me in my efforts to give all children a shot at: first steps, a first word, losing their first tooth, celebrating their first birthday, picking dandelions, a first day of school, making a valentine card, climbing trees, blowing bubbles, swinging from a tree branch, puppy kisses, licking the spoon, jumping in puddles, bedtime stories, recording the answering machine message, learning to read, writing their name, writing a letter to Santa, building a blanket fort in the living room, playmates, picking a book from the library, going to their first movie…and most importantly, a shot at life.
You can be a child’s Shot@Life. Your voice, your time and your support can change a child’s life forever. Join me, and the Shot@Life Champions, as we proudly take this journey on behalf of all children, everywhere.