Over the past year, I’ve had an amazing chance to be part of a movement that’s making a difference in the world. I’m working with the Shot@Life campaign in a effort to end polio and raise awareness of the importance of global vaccinations in saving the lives of children every day.
But it’s not always a child’s life at risk. And it’s why I want to tell you about Constant Dedo.
Before I get to his story, I want to fill you in on a trip I took to New York last fall.
As a Social Good Fellow for Shot@Life, I participated in the Blogust campaign last August. I wrote a story about The Comments You Never See. I told you that every comment you made would be matched with a donation of $20 – the amount of money needed to save one child’s life. I was humbled and touched by how many of you came out of the woodwork to say that you read but never comment. But for this cause, for saving one child’s life, you were using your voice.
Shortly after that amazingly successful campaign that raised over $200,000 to save children’s lives, I was invited to attend the Social Good Summit in NYC, along with several other Social Good Fellows. During that time, we had a lot of heartfelt discussion about what we were doing, how we were helping, and most importantly, where the money was going. We asked to find a way to share what happens to the money. What is the impact.
That’s exactly what 28 Days of Impact is all about. 28 bloggers telling 28 real stories that have been impacted by this program.
My story is about Constant Dedo.
This is not a photo of Constant. I actually can’t show you a photo of him. It’s for his own protection.
Constant Dedo is a Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) volunteer, which is part of the Center for Disease Control, one of the partner organizations for Shot@Life. He is also a disease control officer from Ghana and has worked extensively on polio eradication campaigns, disease detection efforts and program reviews during four STOP assignments in South Sudan and one additional assignment in Pakistan.
He’s one of the one-the-ground people who understands the importance of the work being done. He understands the risk and danger involved with his assignment but believes enough in the cause to do it anyway. Unfortunately, his story has a different kind of impact.
During this last assignment in Pakistan, he encountered something very rare for a polio volunteer; he was shot by unknown gunmen. During his hospital stay, he showed his family his wounds via Skype. They cried. Following extensive recovery, he spoke with his family about the importance of continuing this work. They were supportive.
“We know how lucky we are to have health care and vaccinations and how important it is that children in remote areas are vaccinated against this debilitating disease.”
This father of four daughters is looking forward to a new challenge in reaching out to children in the most remote and isolated areas. Often, the polio vaccine is the only preventive healthcare these children receive.
While I was preparing to tell you Constant’s story, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to talk about it because his safety and security were at risk. While the work that he is doing, along with all its risks, needs to be told, his life is just as important as every life he saves. In the end, I was given approval to tell you what I’ve told you here.
To know there are people out there putting their lives on the line every day to save a child that could be mine makes my effort pale in comparison. But without people like you and me, Constant wouldn’t be able to continue doing what he does.
If you feel as moved by this story as I was, I hope you’ll consider joining the movement at Shot@Life.
The impact of vaccines on the lives of children around the world is incredible. Now, you can help sustain the impact by sending an email to your member of congress. Welcome your members to the 113th Congress and ask them to make sure that global health and vaccines are a priority in the new Congress. Take action and make an impact!
This story comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is part of Shot@Life’s ’28 Days of Impact’ Campaign. A follow up to Blogust to raise awareness for global vaccines and the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners to help give children around the world a shot at a healthy life. Each day in February, you can read another impactful story on global childhood vaccines. Tomorrow, don’t miss Jen Burden’s post at World Mom’s Blog! Go to www.shotatlife.org/impact to learn more.