Monday, April 27, 2015

The Power of One

Happy Anniversary Shot@Life!!!  I can hardly believe that it was 3 years ago in January that I attended the first Shot@Life Summit in Washington DC where the campaign was inaugurated.  Later on April 26, 2012 the campaign did their National Launch from Atlanta, Georgia.
January 2012 Shot@Life Champions
 We grew from 45  champions in 2012 to  600+ champions now in  50 states. We had raised  over $3.5 million,enough  for 15.8 million vaccines  and we keep growing  each day.

April is a very important month for children!  We celebrate Children’s Day on April 30, and we celebrate World Immunization Week this April 24 – 30.  During this week organizations around the world will raise their voices to educate, promote and increase the rate of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases.  As a nurse from a developing country, I still remember walking into small rural towns & 
seeing children with distended abdomens who were suffering from measles, diarrhea and other preventable childhood diseases.  I witnessed, firsthand, the pain and sorrow of many mothers when their children were suffering.  I remember their stoic faces of other mothers holding back tears while cradling a dead child in their arms.  The sad part is that all those childhood diseases could have been prevented with one simple vaccine.

I have always believed in the power of ONE.  One (1) is a powerful number and without ONE you will not reach 10, 100, 1000, 10,000, etc.   Every worthy project, program or cause started because ONE person believed in change, or because ONE person had the courage to follow his or her dream and passion.  For example, on April 12th, 60 years ago in 1955, Jonas Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine was proven safe and effective in protecting children from the poliovirus.  Every ONE of you can be ONE of these real change agents!  You are that ONE person who can make a change and save many children’s lives!  You have the power!  You are the ONE to love; you are the ONE to be excited; and you are the ONE to believe in and share this cause with many others.

ONE single vaccine makes a difference between life and death in many cases.  ONE single person donating $20.00 will vaccinate a child for life against polio, measles, pneumonia and diarrhea.  In contrast, treatment costs for ONE child who falls ill from ONE of those diseases can easily $100 to $1000, or more.

I love the Shot@Life Campaign!  This campaign encompasses everything ONE person needs to make a difference in the life of ONE child.  Globally, polio has been reduced 99% and Africa has not seen a new case of polio since July 2014.  However, as long as a single child remains infected, all children are at risk.  While polio is a distant memory for many of us here in the U.S., it remains a threat to the childhood of so many children living in developing countries.

Vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, measles, diarrhea and pneumonia are real and kill many children every year.  For example, for less than ONE (1) US dollar [$1.00], ONE (1) child can be safely and effectively vaccinated against measles.  Shot@Life means providing children around the world with the opportunity to receive the needed vaccines that will give them, truly, a “shot at life”.

You are the ONE that can make a difference this week by pledging your support for global health and educating yourself about our campaign, or donating at  Shot@Life is a national movement to educate, connect and empower Americans to become champion for vaccines.  It is continuing to strengthen the call to action for this global cause.  Together, we can help save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to these needed vaccines.  For children in developing countries, a vaccine gives them a chance at many of life’s “firsts”— first smiles, first birthdays, first steps and more.  [BB1] #va

We are holding a Champion Training this Wednesday night, April 29, from 8-9:30 p.m.. Please join us! Click this link to sign up. #vaccines work @Shot@Life #nurseswhovaccinate.

Friday, October 24, 2014

No Parents Left Behind: Polio a disease that still Kill children in Afghan...

No Parents Left Behind: Polio a disease that still Kill children in Afghan...:   The Ebola outbreak in West African countries is a great reminder of why we need to invest in prevention before we have an epidemic.     ...

Polio a disease that still Kill children in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria

 The Ebola outbreak in West African countries is a great reminder of why we need to invest in prevention before we have an epidemic.   
As we commemorate World Polio Day today it is important to note how close we are to eliminating many of the World’s most deadly and debilitating diseases with vaccines that cost just a few dollars. 
 Vaccines make a difference. Polio, a disease that once claimed the lives of millions around the world—and paralyzed nearly 1,000 children a day—has now dropped 99 percent in the number of cases worldwide over the last twenty years thanks to a coordinated global vaccination effort with agencies like WHO, UNICEF, CDC, Rotary International, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations.
India, one of the countries where polio remains a serious threat, in January celebrated a significant milestone: two years without any new reported cases of polio. The remaining three countries where polio transmission has never been stopped—Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan-- continue to make tremendous progress in getting us to a polio-free world.   For Example Nigeria reported only 6 cases of polio in 2014 compared to 48 cases in 2013.  However, the disease has recently reemerged in areas that had been polio free for years.  Angola, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have experienced a recent resurgence in polio transmissions.
I was seven years old when I learned about polio.  I was surprised, confused and didn’t understand why my classmate had braces on her legs.  I still remember the sadness I saw on this girl eyes when the children were playing outside.  Until then I never saw anyone with polio or knew what it was.  So with sadness I went home and asked why the little child had braces.   I remember learning about children being paralyzed by polio and how many die from the disease.  It was scary topic for a 7 years old and from that day I never complained about getting my routine vaccination shots and decided that I will be a doctor or nurse to help others.
Vaccines dont just prevent illness; they give children like me the chance to grow up healthy, attend school, and become productive members of society. 
They are a best-buy in global health, with a low cost and a long-term payoff that extends far beyond the health of an individual child.
Please join me and became a Champion for childhood immunizations by visiting, learn about the value of vaccines or make a donation in this link $5.00 will protect a child from polio and measles for his lifetime—the individual acts add up to make a big difference.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

No Parents Left Behind: #Blogust: A Marathon to Save Children’s Lives Near...

No Parents Left Behind: #Blogust: A Marathon to Save Children’s Lives Near...: I am a passionate advocate and Champion for Shot@life, a campaign to protect children worldwide by providing live-saving vaccines to childr...

#Blogust: A Marathon to Save Children’s Lives Near and Far!

I am a passionate advocate and Champion for Shot@life, a campaign to protect children worldwide by providing live-saving vaccines to children in developing countries. Also I am a mother, an educator and a former nurse who worked in a developing country (Mexico).  There I saw many illnesses, pain and sadness in the eyes of many mothers.  At times there was nothing the doctors could do to save their children from diseases that could have been easily prevented. 

Every summer I volunteer wherever I can to serve communities in need.  This year I visited and taught in some rural-remote communities in the heart of the Sierra Madre of Mexico.  Here I had the opportunity of working in the states of Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo and others for almost 4 weeks with underserved children and families in Mexico. 
 Osvaldo &Cristina our interpreters from Spanish-to-Nahuatl 
My first climb, after an initial briefing with leaders from World Vision Mexico, was to the community of Mixtla in the state of Veracruz, Mexico.
After a long walk we arrived at the top of Zongolica Mountain!  Our guide said that we were 5600 meters (18,2000 feet) above sea level.  I realized that after driving from Orizaba (big city) to Zongolica (40 kilometers), and from Zongolica to the center of the community of Mixtla  (14.7 kilometers), and from there to Mixtla to Altamirano we walked another 5.3 kilometers -  total of 60 kilometers… 96.6 miles just to get there!  But what an amazing view!!  Although my heart was racing and my ears were popping, my excitement was compensating my difficulties in breathing.
Talking to mothers of Mixtla de Altamirano

From the top of the mountains we descended 1600 meters to reach the community of Mixtla de Altamirano.  There we found 40 families living in poverty and lacking the basic human services and supplies needed to survive.  Here they spoke mostly Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.  
The one school room  that serves 7 communities
Parents were proud to show us their one room school.  This is the only school around these mountains where children from 7 other communities attend classes.  Some of these students have to wake up before daylight without eating breakfast and walk 2-3 hours every day to learn.  The classroom was almost empty with few chairs and not funishings!  One teacher comes and teaches 1st through 6th grades in the same room with no comfortable place to sleep, eat or a toilet to use.  The teacher also has to be bilingual because the students speak Nahuatl.
The little  clinic in Cruztitla, mpio. of Zongolica
The closest health center to serve the community is in Cruztitla, less than 2 miles away – after descending about 1600 feet down the mountain on foot, without a road to follow.  This little one-room clinic measures only about 30 by 20 feet and also serves the other communities of Capultitla, Cruztitla, Tlachicuapa and Tetziquila.  Doctors can only come to serve once or twice at week, but they don’t have a place to stay overnight.
  With mothers in Tehuipango, Veracruz
  Once again you could see that Motherhood is Universal!  No interpreter was needed in our communications!  I understood the mothers when they said that diarrhea, fever, measles, prenatal care, anemia and headaches were some of their worries for their children’s health.  We delivered 200 tylenol bottles and some school supplies to these families.

The first day of school in La Paloma, Hidalgo
Later in the state of Hidalgo, I enjoyed the day working with the amazing team of Brigade 10  and visiting with children and parents of the community ”La Paloma”.  It was a profound delight to be able to share with them the importance of basic Health, vaccinations and education as a means to eradicate poverty in order to give their children opportunities to develop, create and grow.  Above is a ‘shot’ of the first day of School with all these children.   I was able to donate some school supplies to over 100 moms and their children in the community of the la Paloma, Hidalgo.
Here is to a Shot to the          first day of school !     At times like these, I can’t help but look back with such feelings of warmth on the days I spent in Uganda.  ­­­The Mexican Parents and children are very similar to the Ugandan parents and their children.  Their courage and resilience and the children’s smiles and gratitude taught me greatly of the human will to triumph - and the power of kindness. 

 Jen Burden and I during a UNICEF Health Day in Uganda

During Shot@Life Blogust 2014 - a month-long blog relay - some online writers, bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about happy and healthy firsts. Every time you comment on this post or share it via social media, Walgreens will donate one vaccination (up to 60,000) for the campaign.  Blogust is part of an overall commitment by Walgreens to donate up to I million vaccinations through its “Get a Shot.  Give a Shot” project.  I have been supporting, advocating and championing the United Nations Foundation Shot@life vaccination campaign because I believe in their mission and goals and have firsthand experience that vaccines save lives.  So please join me and help protect, save, and give children around the globe a shot at life by providing the needed vaccines for them.