Sport a Red Nose To Show Support For Children’s Health and Safety
Laughter is powerful medicine. It not only helps to heal our pain, but it brings joy to learning and make us more productive in our work. And today, May 21st, 2015, it will also serve as inspiration for Red Nose Day.
Tonight, in a special three-hour entertainment special on NBC, the United State’s inaugural Red Nose Day will leverage the popularity of high-profile celebrities and the power of mass media to help raise awareness of important children’s health issues.
The TV special will feature superstar actors, comedians and musicians, original sketch comedy, hilarious parodies and amazing musical performances to provide “Comic Relief” and encourage donations for worthy causes. While viewers are laughing and enjoying the entertainment, they’ll be introduced to some of the Red Nose Day charity partners that help children and young people in the U.S. and across the world in one of three ways:
- By keeping them safe and reducing levels of violence, exploitation and abuse.
- By educating them and improving access to good quality education and job training,
- By making sure they’re healthy and have access to primary healthcare, clean water and sanitation.
GAVI is a highly effective international non-profit that helps provide children with access to life-saving vaccines that protect against killer diseases. Since 2000, GAVI has helped immunize 370 million children in more than 70 countries, saving more than 5.5 million lives.
While there are plenty of privileged children in the U.S., Red Nose Day reminds us of the importance of raising these children with an appreciation for the science and technology that has enabled them to live the lives they do – in safe environments with access to education and primary healthcare. We need to ensure that parents and educators have the tools to improve science literacy and STEM education among the next generation. After all, the goal is not just to raise children that are safe, educated and healthy, but to also raise children who will grow up knowing how to address these important health and societal issues well into the future.
In some ways, it’s reassuring to know that a recent Pew Research Center survey seems to indicate that general public and the scientific community both support strong vaccination policies. However, as we’ve seen in the recent efforts to pass new legislation that will protect school-aged children from preventable diseases in the state of California, there is a small but vocal contingency of people who do not agree with the scientific consensus on vaccines and they will go to great lengths to make their opinions known.
Unfortunately, people are increasingly influenced by the irrational beliefs of a few anti-vaccine opportunists. Often times their misguided claims are repeated by certain celebrities that help spread dangerous misinformation to millions of fans via social media. The mistrust then spreads like an infectious disease, and is some cases has even resulted in the unnecessary resurgence of dangerous and sometimes deadly infectious diseases like measles and pertussis. While it’s wonderful that celebrities want to contribute their time and talent to Red Nose Day, we must ensure that the parents of today, and the children of tomorrow, learn how to properly evaluate the science and medical literature so that they can continue to value the benefits of life-saving advancements like vaccines.
Red Nose Day isn’t just about tonight’s celebrity entertainment.
It’s an opportunity for everyone – not just actors and musicians – but parents, teachers, healthcare workers and public health professionals to advocate for children’s safety, education and health. One way we can do that is to make a commitment to improve science education and communication.
If my daughter’s third grade teachers (pictured at right) are committed enough to wear a #RedNose to school today, than I’m confident they can teach students to appreciate science and the role it plays in helping to solve our global health issues. This is my wish for every child throughout the world. Red Nose Day is all about giving children everywhere the opportunity to live a healthy life.