Did you know 1 in every 5 children around the world does not have access to the vaccines most all of us in the western world do? Were you aware that a child dies every 20 seconds in developing countries from diseases preventable through vaccines?
This past weekend I joined an amazing group of mom writers from around the DC Beltway to lend our voices the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign. This week is Worldwide Immunization Week, a week that may seem unnecessary to most of us who have the ease of being able to schedule an appointment and simply “get it done”. For so many other mothers out there like, a mom from Mozambique, giving their children a shot at life through vaccinations can require walking for miles and miles.
Yet, she will happily do this. You see, she has already lost two children to vaccine preventable illness and is determined to give this child a shot at life that the other two never had.
Amongst the talented women at this event, great conversations, delectable Gelato and desserts provided by Dolci Gelati I learned that as little as $20 can vaccinate a child FOR LIFE! The amount of money I spend in two weeks on coffee can safe a life. That boggles the mind.
I came home late that night, kissed my little ones as they slept and thought about other mothers around the globe. Were they kissing their kids goodnight as they slept safe and warm? Or, where they struggling to hold back the tears as the rocked the frail bodies of their children infected with preventable disease?
The next morning the brood awoke me with their typical post-event interrogations…
“Mom, where did you go last night?!
“Mommy, why didn’t you take us with you?!!”
“What did you bring back for us?!!!”
I pulled out the super cool water bottle and tasty treats from Dolci Gelati, thinking that would appease them. (for a while)
Oddly enough, they wanted me to read them the materials from Shot@Life. I explained to them that those shots they fuss so much over, actually save lives. Told them that millions of kids in the world don’t get the chance to get these healthy -if not so fun- shots and that as little as seventeen cents can make a difference.
Seventeen cents buys one Polio vaccine.
These amazing creatures that I’m raising (and somehow haven’t screwed up completely…yet) took it upon themselves ACT! They offered up their life savings in the form of their piggy banks. WOW! Are these the same children who have no qualms about pitching a royal fit in the middle of Target if I don’t stop at the dollar bins and indulge their every whim, refusing to pay me back from their funds? Because you know, it’s my JOB to buy them things.
I promptly bawled like a baby.
They spent a good portion of the day counting out groups of coins amounting to seventeen cents each. Every time they would complete a pile they’d holler, “YEAH! We saved a life!”… (que continued blubbering)
By the end of they day they had compiled enough to purchase Polio vaccines for 223 children. We will be taking a trip to the coin exchange this week, cashing in those precious cents and I’ll be matching their efforts. Lives will be saved, lives will be changed and 223 children will have a shot at life. A shot at those milestones we want for our kids. Like them learning to share, to care for others, to know that the have the power to change the world.
Every child deserves these milestones, this shot at life. Won’t you join me in supporting Shot@Life by helping to spread the word about World Vaccination Week, donating, hosting your own event or even getting your own kids involved? Let’s give as many kids as we can a shot at life!