Tuesday, December 1, 2015

No Parents Left Behind: Giving Tuesday:Give the Gift that change lives for...

No Parents Left Behind: Giving Tuesday:Give the Gift that change lives for...: Giving Tuesday: Give the Gift that change lives forever What is it in a gift that makes everyone so excited and happy?  So happy that i...
Giving Tuesday: Give the Gift that change lives forever

What is it in a gift that makes everyone so excited and happy?  So happy that it makes them cry with joy and excitement?  A gift means that you are special!  It means that somebody cares about you!
Today is GivingTuesday, the perfect time to start the Holiday season of giving a gift to others.  A gift that is carefully selected with someone in mind has the power to change the receiver forever.  Especially if these gift can make the difference between the life and death of a child in need.  With this simple act of thinking of others rather than yourself, you are given others the precious give of life, happiness and love.  That is the power of a gift - it tells the receiver that someone cares and that they are loved.
Today I am supporting and fundraising for the Shot@Life campaign.  Shot@Life is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.
Can you help me this Holiday season to provide the gift of life and protection, for other children like these,from deadly diseases - like polio.   Polio used to cripple hundreds of children a day, but thanks to vaccines it is nearly eradicated! Today only, MAM Baby, a pacifier company, has agreed to DOUBLE your gift to Shot@Life by matching all donations dollar-for-dollar. We are raising money to protect a new generation of children from polio. We can stop this disabling disease in its tracks!
 Your gift to Shot@Life TODAY will be doubled. With a gift of $20 or more, you can protect at least 40 children from this debilitating disease.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

No Parents Left Behind: HAPPYPNEUMONIA DAY!  (Not Really…)November12th is...

No Parents Left Behind: HAPPYPNEUMONIA DAY!  (Not Really…)
November12th is...
: HAPPY PNEUMONIA DAY!   (Not Really…) November 12th is World Pneumonia Day!   This is an effort to create more awareness and understan...


November 12th is World Pneumonia Day!  This is an effort to create more awareness and understanding about how this terrible disease is the number 1 Infectious killer of children under 5 years of age.  Here are a couple of my experiences of working in the field with children in developing countries:

This Summer I was in the mountains of Sierra de Mixtla of Altamirano, Veracruz to work and volunteer in Texiquila with children that live in the top of the mountains, far away from any cities and medical facilities.  These children are smart, eager to learn and have many dreams and hopes for their futures.  The sad part was seeing the poverty and living conditions where they lived, lacking basic foods and care while growing up in unsanitary conditions and poor nutrition.  While most healthy children can fight an infection with their natural defenses, children in poor countries - like these - are at a higher risk for developing many childhood diseases like diarrhea, measles and pneumonia.  These kids have immune systems that are easily compromised and weakened by malnutrition and undernourishment and live too far away from access to adequate medical care and proper health facilities when needed.  

Talking to the parents of these children, I learned that in a day’s work - from dawn to dusk – most of them earn only the equivalent of $8.00 to $10.00!  Their financial poverty is yet another disease afflicting them and their families - and severely limiting their children’s future prospects.
Having lunch with the leaders of Texiquila, Veracruz

While there, I shared meals with them.  Because I was a guest and benefactor they prepared the best meals they had... bean tacos! Bean tacos! BEAN TACOS!  (All the containers on the table in the picture are filled only with bean tacos.  There’s absolutely no variety among them!)  We also dined with some chili, water and a corn-mix drink; but mostly bean tacos.  I felt humbled for the honor and grateful for the experience! 

However, by the end of the week I was very sick with diarrhea and had to go to the hospital.  The closest one was 4 hours from the mountains where I received treatment and antibiotics.  I was dehydrated and sick for the whole week afterward!  Luckily I had the resources and money to pay for proper medical care and I knew what to do. 

Sadly, for many mothers there – and in other poor countries – they can only helplessly watch their children struggle with diarrhea, fever and pneumonia while gasping for air.  It is terrifying for them to not know how serious or urgent their condition is upon being forced to witness such suffering.  In these circumstances a mother only knows that her child needs care and urgent attention, but doesn’t have the money or transportation needed for travel to the nearest clinic or to pay for a doctor.  

Here are some of the children I am talking about in my blog:

                                  Children like these in Mubende, Uganda

Children like these in the Railway School in Kampala, Uganda

Children in Texiquila, Mixtla the Altamirano, Veracruz, Mexico

Shockingly, pneumonia kills more children under the age of five than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.  Pneumonia is the leading cause of preventable child deaths in the world, killing 1.3 million children a year.  The mayority of these deaths occur in developing countries which are among the poorest and in the most difficult-to-reach areas of the world.  The pneumococcal vaccine is an easy way to prevent pneumonia in these children and only costs $5.00 for one dose.  You can fully protect a child for $10.00.

On September 26-28, world leaders visited New York City for the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.  They decided upon 17 Global Goals, committing to end poverty and inequality and tackling climate change by 2030.  We must tackle pneumonia as a part Goal Number 3: “Good Health and Well-Being”.
A total of 47 million children have received the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine since the first Gavi-supported introduction in 2010.  Yet, there is still more to be done.  The U.S. government has strongly supported global health programs, but we must be vigilant and continue our efforts.

We need your help and support to decrease child mortality by:
  • Donating money to fully immunize a child.  $10.00 will fully protect one (1) child against pneumonia.  (You can save as many you’d like!)  
  • Helping to expand access to vaccines for children in developing countries.
  • Meet with your members of Congress and ask them to support global health.
  • Providing good nutrition and sanitation practices for all children, world-wide.
  • Helping to promote & provide easy access to medical treatment as needed.
  • Training health workers to diagnose and treat the disease

Thursday, August 20, 2015

No Parents Left Behind: Everyone Can Be a Life-Saving Hero!!I am excited...

No Parents Left Behind: Everyone Can Be a Life-Saving Hero!!

I am excited...
: Everyone Can Be a Life-Saving Hero!! I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to participate again in the   Shot@Life annual Blog...
Everyone Can Be a Life-Saving Hero!!

I am excited and humbled for the opportunity to participate again in the Shot@Life annual Blogust blog relay.  As I write this blog I feel such gratitude for this relay!.  I have loved this campaign since its beginning in 2012 when I became a champion.  Since then I have loved advocating, creating awareness and fundraising for Shot@Life.  Like I have said before, this cause has resonated with me and it should resonate with anyone who cares about human lives - especially children’s lives.  This is very personal for me, because I witnessed, firsthand, the pain and sorrow of mothers when their children were suffering from easily curable illnesses.  I remember some mothers holding back their tears while cradling their dead child in their arms.  Many times I felt so powerless to ease the pain in these mothers’ eyes, or to prevent a child’s death because we lacked the most basic of medical care.  It was so heartbreaking when we didn’t have enough medicine and vaccines to administer, or when mothers came too late for us to do anything to save their children.

 This quote has been an inspiration to me from my younger years until the present.  When someone says what can I do? I am only one; I said one is powerful and everything starts with one person wanting to make a change and help. I remember that every time I questioned the disparities I saw in my society and the extreme poverty in the remote villages and farms, my father would tell me: “You can change this and make a difference.”  It sounded crazy at the time - what little could I do to make a difference in people’s lives?  But I believed in his words and studied hard in school.  He died suddenly at the age of 38.  I was eight years old and learned very fast that, yes; every one of us can make a difference and do something to make the lives of others better. I learned the one person can change things and give hope.  One hug, one smile or one act of kindness can make a difference in someone else’s life.
I was born in Mexico and went to nursing school there.  One of my favorite things to do while in school, and afterward, was to participate in many vaccine campaigns.  As a young nurse going to rural areas with containers full of precious vaccines was an incredible feeling, the whole experience was full of excitement!  Children would run and hide from us not wanting the needles; and their determined mothers would chase them down, and then line them up on the concrete school basket ball courts or soccer fields where we would set up.  Many other mothers came from neighboring communities having walked many miles, riding horses, donkeys or using a canoe to get there.  Over and over I would hear the mothers say “You need to get your shots so you will not get sick and die like your brother…sister, cousin or friend”.  These mothers knew how important the vaccines were for their children.  They knew that one (1) shot was the difference between life and death for them, and did everything they could to make sure they got vaccinated.  As they would gather and line up, I also saw many children with distended abdomens where insufficient nutrition was evident.  They looked anemic and some were hungry; others were suffering from diarrhea, pneumonia, tetanus and many other illnesses.  I promise myself that I will do everything in my power to help and make a difference in others children lives."A Shot@Life From Mexico to the World"(a young nurse's story)

Today I am challenging you to use your power as one person who saves the life of one child.  Do you know that every 20 seconds one child dies in some poor country for lack of a vaccine for an easily-preventable disease?  Be a hero and save some lives by donating a vaccine to a child in need every time.  YOU comment, share, like and repost this blog entry to any of your social media channels with the hashtag #blogust.  Every single one of those actions (comments, share, like & repost) translates to one vaccine donated to a child around the world by Project Perpetual, Shot@Life and The UN Foundation.

1. Children in Fort Portal, Uganda (Fall 2012)
2. Children inTetxiquila,Veracruz, Mexico  (Summer 2015)
Remember, you can be a hero and give children like these a shot to a healthy life. Every comment, like and share =  1 vaccine! and you can do all three actions in just 5 minutes! 

This month, during Shot@Life’s Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay - some of North America's most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children.

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 www.shotatlife.org.  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]http://www.cdc.gov/features/measles/#adv2vax #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.