Imagine not being able to speak for yourself, for your family, or for what you believe in. Imagine trying to speak but your voice or cause not being heard. This past month I lost my voice—for three weeks I could not speak due to laryngitis. For three weeks I felt powerless–not able to discipline my children and not able to effectively get my messages across with anyone I came into contact with in daily life. I was looked at strangely and sometimes even ridiculed. But perhaps the most isolating and intimating experience came when my son broke his arm. It was a difficult experience as I tried to communicate with the doctors about what had happened and even though I did the best I could, I struggled to get my message across and my questions answered. But I truly felt like I was not taken seriously or fully understood.
You may wonder why in the world is she talking about this? Being very ill and without my voice I thought about a very emotional experience I had a week before. An experience that changed the way I thought about vaccinations. At the Type A parent conference I had the opportunity to hear about Shot@Life. How the very vaccinations I take for granted for my three children are a luxury to children on the other side of the world. I began to think of how having no voice was temporary for me
but for millions of mothers and children in 73 of the world’s poorest countries, not being heard is currently the way of life. According to the International Vaccine Access Center, it is estimated that 3.7 million child deaths and over 100 million cases of illness could be prevented between 2011 and 2020 through the use of Hib, pneumococcal, and rotavirus vaccines.
Pause for a moment and think about those statistics. Now imagine the city of Los Angeles gone in 2020—population ZERO. If we do not step up and be the voice of children, then worldwide we will lose the equivalent of a major US city due to preventable disease. That is 3.75 million mothers out their grieving the loss of a child over something we have the power to prevent!
What can you do? Regardless of your belief in vaccinations, give mothers around the world the voice and power to be able to choose vaccinating their children. Many of these mothers on the other side of the globe walk miles with their children to ensure they have a shot at life. Perhaps the most touching story I heard at the conference was about a young mother who walked 15 miles to get her child vaccinated. Her reason for the journey—she had already lost two young children to a preventable disease and she was not going to lose her third child.
The girl pictured below is an example of the many children given a shot at life. Don’t let others miss their shot of living past five years of age. Remember dirty, sloppy mudpies that to us were our gourmet masterpieces? Or maybe you now enjoy watching your child make and create mudpies for you to “eat”. Well this girl now as a shot at making mudpies…just one of the many milestones children experience. What are you going to give a child a shot at? Donate at Shot@Life —every 20 seconds a child dies to preventable disease and a $20 donation gives a child the vaccinations they need for their shot at making mudpies. Finally, don’t take your voice for granted. Use your voice to spread the word of this organization that gives millions of children their shot at life and speak for those who need to be heard.