Friday, May 11, 2012

The Miracle of Saving a Precious Child’s Life
by Felisa Hilbert

After an amazing week with the national launch of Shot@Life in Atlanta on April the 26th, followed by our incredible Mom Congress Conference in Washington DC, I came home feeling very humbled and grateful to be able to participate in something so good and humanitarian in nature.  I cannot shake off the conviction of how important one person is at making a difference.  At the conference, I witnessed 51 mothers plus mentors and speakers making a difference and being passionate about children’s issues.  It was just so invigorating!  I am truly awe-struck by the many miracles I have seen and experienced each day within my own life and in my community.  A miracle I have the opportunity to witness often is the sight of a young child, with different origins than mine, learning the words to communicate and express themselves.  It is a marvel to see how resilient they are to a change of environment and how they do not crack under pressure from culture shock. 

I know by experience that it is difficult and can be extremely heartbreaking to leave one’s homeland.  One week a child feels secure and without worries, then perhaps the next, they are in a strange country with a different language and culture – and a classroom foreign to them.  I love my job!  I understand their feelings and, as I said, it is a miracle to see our students adapt and begin to trust again.  Every day is a blessing for me when I help a child or touch a parent’s life.  No amount of money can buy that feeling of joy and fulfillment!  I feel very lucky because children are my favorite people in the world.  I am an avid student of children and I think their innate qualities and potential are remarkable.  They are honest, they love unconditionally, they are quick to ask forgiveness and to forget offenses, etc. 

Can you imagine a country without children?  Of course, it would have no future and would cease to exist.  As a mother, could you imagine not seeing a future where your children grew old enough to develop these wonderful attributes?  Can you imagine mothers in other countries not having the opportunity to see their children grow up at all?  I can!  I was born and raised in a developing country and I saw poverty, hunger and people living in one-room shacks or cardboard houses.  I saw diseases that were easily preventable with vaccines, but the families lived too far away to have access to them.  I saw mothers cry because their precious babies were so sick with very preventable illnesses like measles, polio, pneumonia, diarrhea and chicken pox.

Shot@Life   is important and is very personal for me.  Because I was a nurse in Mexico, I already know what happens when you do not have access to vaccines.  Until recently, I forgot the reason why I was never able to meet my maternal grandmother.  It’s funny how the mind can put away memories… suddenly last week I was remembering a conversation with my mother and brothers a long time ago.  My grandmother died of chicken pox in her early thirties, eight days after delivering a baby girl (my younger aunt).  It was a miracle that my aunt lived, but in the light of Shot@Life, it was a preventable tragedy to the family to lose my grandmother.  Can you believe that a very easily preventable disease can steal away the feeling of never knowing how it feels to be loved by your grandmother?  My brothers and I never met grandparents from either side of our family.  I, and many adults in these countries, never had any memories or shared milestones in life with a grandparent.  Nowadays, you do not hear of people dying from these so-called “childhood diseases” here in the United States… but in developing countries a child dies every 20 seconds from one of these diseases or illnesses.  The number of children dying every year from preventable diseases is nearly equivalent to half the number of children entering kindergarten in the United States.

That is why I am a proud champion and ambassador for the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Campaign.  Therefore, I am asking you to join me to reach our goal to vaccinate and save the lives of 1000 children by Mothers Day.  You can be part of a miracle every day by providing these vaccines and saving the lives many, many children.  Can you think of a better gift for a mother in a developing country?  Your $20.00 dollar (US) donation can provide vaccinations against all the diseases I have mentioned, and more.  We are getting close to our goal, but we need your help.

Would you please join me and make these miracles happen?  By giving a little, you will receive a lot.  The knowledge that you saved a precious child’s life somewhere, and that you gave another mother future milestones and memories could be the best gift you receive this Mothers Day!  A Shot@Life is a shot at a healthy life and a better future!  Of course, you will smile and feel full of joy because there is nothing better in life than to serve and protect our children.

Thank you, and Happy Mother’s Day!


Felisa Hilbert
Nurse and Shot@Life Champion 

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