I usually try to come up with some catchy titles for my posts to get you to read. Call it trickery, maybe. But I just couldn’t think of any trickery I needed to use here.
Every child does deserve a shot at life. Show me someone who doesn’t believe that.
Now show me someone who doesn’t act on that.
I’m focusing a lot of my efforts this year at moving beyond what I call “armchair activism.” Don’t get me wrong. I love to use my words to rally for causes and inspire others. But in order to bring about change, you actually have to get up and DO something.
That’s why I applied to the Shot@Life Champions program and why I’m proud that I was accepted to represent my new old home state of Maryland. I’m a champion for the cause of global vaccination and I want to tell you what I’m doing about it. And maybe it’ll inspire you to do something too.
I was recently invited by the United Nations Foundation to attend a Shot@Life Champions Summit in Washington, DC along with 100 or so other people from all over the country. Some of us were bloggers and mothers. Others were advocates from supporting non-profit groups. Others were pediatricians and nurses with a vested interest in the cause. It truly was inspiring to be among so many people from so many walks of life all rallying for the same cause, especially knowing we were all there for different reasons.
My friend Trina was inspired to be there because her mother suffered from polio as a young girl. My friend Ilina was there because she grew up in India and has seen and experienced firsthand some of the issues with global healthcare. My friend Tracey was there because her teenage daughter was inspired to make a change in the world, particularly through Shot@Life, and motivated Tracey to do something as well.
I don’t have that personal connection… except I do.
My connection to the cause is that I’m a mother. I’m a mother that believes every child deserves a shot to grow up and experience the things we all hope for our children. Children need to be healthy enough to grow and go to kindergarten and have playdates and lose their first tooth and go to school. Things we often take for granted.
I am beyond thankful that my son is healthy and (mostly) happy. So for me, the idea of jumping on the bandwagon to ask for support for global vaccinations was a no brainer.
As with most causes I support, I choose carefully. I scrutinize. I ask question. I come up with objections. And I want to share a few of the facts that keep my in support of this program.
- Shot@Life is a campaign of the UN Foundation, an organization founded by Ted Turner.
- Shot@Life is a U.S. charity funded both publicly and privately.
- Shot@Life works closely with supporting organizations such as WHO, CDC, USAID, and GAVI (we can’t do it alone!)
- Shot@Life is a movement that has gained and is gaining momentum in the field of global health.
When my son was born in 2007, polio was still present in four countries in the world: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
Today, thanks to polio eradication efforts, the number of countries is three. India, one of the most populated countries in the world, last reported a case of polio in 2010. We’ve got three countries to go.
If this movement can’t maintain its funding, the work of the past several years goes down the drain. We have momentum and we need to keep it going because we want to see polio eradicated during our lifetime.
So what can a nice white lady like myself do about it?
Glad you asked. As a Shot@Life Champion, I’m a advocate for the program. I spent several days last week learning not only how to gain support for this important campaign but I also met with the offices of three of my Congressional reps.
I have to tell you that it was extremely empowering to know that my voice and passion on this was being heard and will actually have an impact when it comes time to allocating U.S. foreign aid.
What can you do?
Visit Shot@Life online. Learn more about what they’re doing and learn how you can help.
And please, stop back tomorrow where I get to share an account of where these monies are going as part of February’s 28 Days of Impact.