Help Give A Child A Healthy Shot At Life
Feb 01, 2012

As I was preparing to leave for a brief business trip on Sunday evening I heard these words:

“God comes to us disguised as our life.”

Little did I know that over the next two days I would come to a fuller understanding of what these words mean to me in regards to my life at this moment.
In my faith, I believe that the choices we make and the actions we take should be guided by our love for our neighbor who encompasses all of humanity.  With that vision, it’s my personal opinion that there’s nothing more compassionate than saving the life of a child.
While parents in the United States often have the luxury of waiting for hours in line for that magical Dumbo ride at Disney, the reality remains that in many other countries mothers walk for miles and wait for hours for a simple vaccine in hopes that their own princes and princesses will have the hope of a healthier life.  While many of us readily acknowledge that such disparity exists, children all over the globe continue to suffer and die from vaccine preventable diseases.  As individuals we often feel powerless to do anything about it.   However, by supporting global vaccination programs we can save the life of a child every 20 seconds and stop the nearly 2 million unnecessary deaths that happen every year.
One way in which I personally plan to evoke change is through supporting a new campaign called Shot@Life.  By helping to educate, connect and empower people, Shot@Life is launching a powerful initiative that promotes vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.  This new UN Foundation project focuses on ways in which every day people can help give children around the world the shot at life they deserve, no matter where they live.  As you can see in the video below, some children may never experience the milestones that many of us take for granted; like saying their first words, losing their first tooth, or even getting their first vaccine.
After attending a special Shot@Life volunteer summit earlier this week, it became quite clear to me – as well as to each of the other volunteer champions in attendance – that there are as many ways to help, as there are people who want to be a part of the solution.
Whether you are a high school freshman, like Julia Clark, who will be making a presentation to her Model UN class in California, or a high school science teacher and Mom Congress delegate, like Marilyn Zaragoza, who plans to educate her students about the importance of global health and vaccines in Florida, it’s obvious that we each have a unique role to fill in helping to accomplish the Shot@Life mission.  Bloggers like Jennifer Burden will highlight the cause through her World Moms Blog that is certain to trigger an abundance of support from moms all across the globe.  And men like John Wargo of Lions Club International will share the vision at upcoming meetings and discuss ways in which his group can engage their local communities to join these global efforts for a healthier world.  For others it may mean signing the Shot@Life pledge, making a $20 donation that will protect a single child from four vaccine preventable diseases, or simply sharing the movement with friends, family and neighbors.
Today I recall the inspirational words from the many volunteers I’ve met so far and realize we all have the power to be the part of the change.
Chrysula Winegar led the charge by declaring,

“When you wake up a mother, you wake up a world.”

Wendy Smith, from Give a Little Now, assured us that

 “Small donations can transform our world” as we were given examples of how everyday Americans are joining together to make combined contributions that are helping to make signficant impact on social issues around the world.

Portia Mount, from Boss Mom Online, summed it up by saying,

“Leadership leads to social change.”

So now I’ve arrived home, ready to be a leader charged with waking up the world in an effort to make a huge contribution to the Shot@Life campaign.  In the months ahead I plan to highlight the stories of the many volunteers I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this week.  Their experiences will illustrate how each of us can become living examples of love in the lives of others.  As these “Champions” go out to spread the Shot@Life message in their communities, they will be helping to give kids around the world a chance for a healthier life.  They are already my inspiration, as I’m sure they will soon be yours.

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