Last night, my son’s scout troop headed to our city’s Town Hall to meet with the mayor and pass off a requirement for a citizenship badge. As I was driving him to his meeting, I asked him how much he knew about what I had been doing for the last 3 days. He knew I was down the road in Washington D.C. and that was about it. I used the 7 minute drive to attempt to impress upon his 12-year-old mind the importance of what I was doing there.
On a daily basis, my kids see me working at my computer. They know that I write, and they know that I receive fun things to review every now and then. Once in a while, I leave them at home with Dad to travel to a conference or a movie premiere or a brand event. In their eyes, I’m sure this week’s trip seemed just the same as all the rest. Mom was gone. Period.
But my time in at the Shot@Life Champion Summit this week was so much more than just a gathering of bloggers. We did something powerful in those 3 days together. We didn’t just talk about what we could do. We learned. We brainstormed. We planned. And we did it.
I want my children to know that I am fighting for children just like them – children who are loved by a mother just like me. I want my children to see me stand up for others who don’t have the opportunities and resources I have. I want them to see that I care.
Every child deserves a shot at life
I was introduced to Shot@Life a few times last year. It was after my second meeting, when I met the fabulous Jamie Whalen, that I felt drawn to become involved in the movement. I had donated some cash already, but I was ready to donate my time and my heart as well.
The goal of the Shot@Life campaign is to stop 1.5 million vaccine-preventable childhood deaths – a child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could be eliminated with a simple vaccine. Instead of focusing on the 1.5 million, though, we were encouraged to focus on the ONE CHILD. One child – one advocacy meeting – one vaccine is important.
By providing 4 target life-saving vaccines (polio, measles, pneumococcal and rotavirus), we can provide children around the world with a shot at life. And, amazingly, just $20 will immunize a child against these four diseases.
Did you know that we are on the brink of eradicating polio for good? We are 99% of the way there, with polio only present in 3 countries around the world (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afganistan). If we don’t eradicate polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases, we will end up paying more in the future as we deal with their crippling effects.
Our journey to Capitol Hill
Our goal this week, beyond becoming trained as Shot@Life advocates, was to educate and inform our own state’s representatives about the movement and to ask for continued support. In approximately 4 hours, over 100 men and women met with over 100 congressional offices.
Our group of 7 Maryland women met with three of our representative’s offices: Senator Barbara Mikulski, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. We were fortunate to have representatives who were already very supportive of the cause, and so my first experience lobbying on Capitol Hill was a positive one.
What’s next? The last few days have left me with so many ideas (there is one partnership in the works that I am particularly excited about!) and so you will definitely be hearing more about Shot@Life here…but I am also going to be advocating right at home, with the hopes of getting my kids involved as well.
Remember that even a small effort – a small donation – will make a huge difference in a child’s life.
* Protect a child from polio and measles for his lifetime for only $5
* Pay for vaccines to protect a child from the two most deadly diseases — pneumonia and diarrhea for just $15
* Give a child a lifetime of immunity to protect her from pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and measles for a donation of $20
* Protect three children from these four diseases for $60
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