Tag Archives: polio

Isn’t Pneumonia Cute?

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photo 3Looking at these little guys you might think they are darn cute! Pneumonia is especially cute in his peachy color and wobbly shape… but we all know, in reality, these two little guys are anything but cute.

If you live in the US, it is likely you don’t give polio a second thought because we haven’t seen it in many, many years.  I was just talking with a friend about Shot@Life a couple of weeks ago and they were asking about my last trip to Washington, D.C..  I was telling her I was in DC advocating for the eradication of polio and she said, “I thought that was already gone?”  This is the perception of many people in then US because we have been polio free for so long.  However, it is still alive and moving around in other parts of the world and it is only 99% eliminated from the globe – we still have 1% to go!

While pneumonia is treatable and causes less deaths in the US every year, in other parts of the world it is a death sentence, especially to children under the age of five.  My own son contracted pneumonia at the age of two.  This was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever gone through with my children.  But I was lucky, I had access to a great hospital with lots of doctors and medications to help treat his illness.  I couldn’t imagine what the outcome might have been if I lived in a developing country and didn’t have that sort of access.  My hope is that no mother ever has to experience an undesirable outcome for something that could have been prevented.

So…what can we do to help eradicate polio, prevent pneumonia, and decrease the deaths of children in developing countries?

Well….I chose to support Shot@Life, a United Nations Foundation Campaign, that connects and empowers Americans to help protect children in developing countries from vaccine-preventable diseases.  By joining this movement, I helped save a child’s life every 20 seconds!  2.5 million kids didn’t die this year because of vaccines.  2.5 MILLION! 1 in 5 children do not have access to life-saving vaccines.  Imagine if nearly half the children enrolling in kindergarten this year in the United States were to die of diseases that can be prevented by a vaccine.  That’s how many children die each year in developing countries because they don’t get the immunizations that they need.

So, back to how YOU can help save lives from the comfort of your own home (or computer)…

Through involvement in Shot@Life, you can give a child a lifetime of immunity from deadly diseases and a shot at a healthy childhood by voicing your support for vaccines, to help ensure that US government investments in vaccines continue to save lives.

So I encourage you to take, at the very least, one simple action from the list above to start helping to give kids a shot@enjoying the spring sunshine, flying kites, catching butterflies and ultimately, a Shot@Life.

 

 

 

 

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The History of World Polio Day

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Last night my daughter was up really late working on a history project, which is just the nature of the junior high beast, I suppose.  So here I sit, this morning, sipping my highly caffeinated tea, realizing that one day, hopefully very soon, some junior high student, somewhere, will be doing a history project on the eradication of polio!  While that sounds crazy to some of you, it is so close to being true that it could very well become history before my own kids finish school and head off to college, and more importantly, they could be part of making that history happen!  Hard to imagine?  I say “NO!”  The globe is currently 99% polio free!  That means that there is only 1% left to go!  That, my friends, is historical!  Only one other disease has been eliminated from the globe and we are SO CLOSE to making it happen again.  But we can’t just wait for it to happen.  We have to help write the history of our generation.

If we keep moving ahead like we are, making strides in reaching those most in need.   We CAN rid the world of the debilitating effects of polio.  We CAN save lives.

Polio only exists in three remaining countries:  Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Most recently India is polio free!  And while most of us are safely tucked in our first world environment where we feel that polio will never reach us again, we need to realize that as long as polio is anywhere in the globe, it is a threat to all of us, everywhere.  Rotary and its partners, including Shot@Life, are committed to fighting polio until every child is safe from this devastating disease.  According to Rotary statistics it costs $.60 to protect one child from polio.  Sixty Cents!  The majority of children that contract this disease are under the age of 5.  FIVE!  And the estimated amount that will be saved if polio is eradicated from the globe:  $40-50 billion.  BILLION!

So, back to this history project…the task was to learn about your own family history…what my daughter learned was that her grandpa’s uncle (my great-uncle) had polio as a child.  He has a limp, that until I became involved with Shot@Life, I never questioned.  But as my involvement with Shot@Life sparked conversations with my own family, I learned that his limp was due to the contraction of polio as a kid.  I was able to share that bit of history with her last night, which makes the mission of eradicating polio all that more important to us, personally.

I got involved with Shot@Life a few years ago and from day one I have tried to involve my kids.  They know the statistics, they wear the green shirts, they stand in very public places to hold signs that read “vaccines save lives”.  But more importantly they know that they are helping make history happen and not just reading about it in their books at school.  They ARE the change.  They ARE the voice.  They ARE advocates.  Little ones…but they too care about the world around them and seeing diseases like polio rid from the globe for good.

I can only hope that in the near future my kids can feel great pride about being part of this historical endeavor, and know that they contributed to the efforts to help end polio so that when their own kids are working on their history projects late at night, and their books talk about “back in the day when polio was still around”, they can say that they were part of that history lesson.  THEY helped make it happen!  Granted, their names will be listed in any of the history books, and they won’t get fame or recognition from putting in the effort, but they will know that they were part of a movement that made the world a place where more children can thrive, more children are safe, and all children are free from the devastating effects of polio.  THAT is historical and THAT makes us part of the history that is just waiting to be written.

You can learn more about ending polio at http://www.endpolionow.org or http://www.shotatlife.org.

Our reflection in the Chicago BEAN downtown Chicago.

Our reflection in the Chicago BEAN downtown Chicago.

Taken from the observation deck at the top of the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Taken from the observation deck at the top of the Willis Tower over Chicago.

How Does History Happen?

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It’s “stupid simple”… By arming more than 250 passionate, committed, advocates with the skills and tools they need to make it happen!

The past few days I saw this passion, commitment and these advocacy skills first hand at the Shot@Life Summit in DC.  The energy was intense, the passion overflowing and the skills these amazing advocates already have are beyond compare!

Shot@Life Visits the HillImagine a sea of lime green marching onto Capitol Hill to spread our message to more than 100 members of Congress!  But the best part…really…. it that IT REALLY HAPPENED!  We spent an entire afternoon talking with our legislators about Shot@Life and the importance of global vaccines. We spent the afternoon creating relationships with these offices.  We spent the afternoon learning from each other.  But Ultimately we spent the afternoon working to save lives from preventable diseases.

But the energy didn’t stop there!  It just kept going.  The planning and the collaboration that sparked, the goals that were set and the challenges we put before ourselves were all part of the ultimate goal – to help to save the lives of children.   Why, you ask?

Our stories vary for why we would commit our time to this cause.  But whatever it is – there is always the common thread that no one deserves to die from something that can be prevented.  1 in 5 children die every year from a preventable disease…but to those of you who have read here before you already know that!  But did you know that 99% of polio cases have been eliminated?  It’s amazing the number of people who don’t realize we are SO close to eradicating Polio from the globe!  We only have 1% to go!  And did you know that $1 can help get that polio vaccine to the 3 countries that still have recorded cases – Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan.   That’s right!  Think about it – imagine how you can help make this reality?  Mabye give up your coffee shop coffee for a week – that would provide about 25 children with the polio vaccine!  Or what if you rented a movie instead of going to the theater – you would provide about 20 kids with the polio vaccine!  Imagine what could happen if everyone gave up just one weekly activity and donated it back to helping be part of one of the most important things that may ever happen in our lifetime – the eradication of polio.  Can you imagine?

Yes, there are 250 of us trained in our cause – and yes, there are thousands more supporting our efforts across the nation – but even with that, we can’t do it alone… we need you to help us.  So…in the coming year as we support the need to eliminate a disease that has harmed and killed so many already… I hope you will offer your support.  And when I say “support” I understand that not everyone can offer financial support – so, if you find yourself in that situation, then I ask for your support in helping to spread the word and let others know how they can help end polio once and for all!

So…as I wait for my plane to board and head back home today – I an energized, inspired and amazed by the people I met this week!  I am ready to hit the ground running and ask for your help when I do… I will charge you with this challenge and ask, in 2013, how will YOU help save the lives of children and change the world?  I know what I am going to do to give kids a shot@becoming a congressperson, making a difference in their own world and ultimately giving them a Shot@Life – do you?