Today may not be the day for you to enact change. It might not be tomorrow either. But that's okay. I know 44 other incredible champions who decided that because of the work that the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life is doing, that yesterday was their day to change the world. All I ask is that when you decide that today will be your day, you will give that day, that change everything you've got. Not for yourself, but for those who you are helping. Because although we were called "champions" we all know that a champion is someone who "defends, advocates, upholds, protects" in essence, someone who does something because they know that something is the right thing to do.
I also know that the many champions of this world won't get the recognition they richly deserve. I know that Monica Gallagher Sakala, Nicole Melancon, Holly Pavlika, Jen Barth, Chrysula Lytras Winegar, Portia Mount, Lyssa Sahadevan, Polly Palumbo, and others from the summit, may never get a feature article in the paper or a plaque from the Mayor. They work tirelessly for change and recognize that they may not ever see the results of that change in their own lifetime. But they, we, do it anyway and here's why:
- A child dies every TWENTY seconds.
It's that simple. A child dies.
So while I spent my morning enjoying a cup of coffee, a hot shower, clean clothes, the ability to transport my children to school, a good lunch, in that four hour period 720 children died.
Let me repeat that, 720 children died. And because they didn't have a vaccine against pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, and polio. So for children in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, China, Uganda, Chad and Kenya, I can be a champion.
720 children. Just for some perspective the total student population at my children's elementary school is 620 students. So just imagine this community of children that I know so well, who I have read stories to, built a playground for, been on field trips with, gone. And if you ask their parents to do something to prevent that from happening, they would. Without hesitation. Without question. They would be champions.
And being a champion doesn't take putting on a red cape or gold bracelets. It doesn't involve me even leaving the comfort of my home. All it takes is:
- Reading and sharing information with others. Like what I'm doing now. In a two day period in DC I heard from an incredible array of advocates who believe in a movement and understand that we can make a change.
- Signing a pledge to support Shot@Life. As I write this just over 74,000 people have signed the pledge.
- Donate. Twenty dollars can save a child. TWENTY DOLLARS. How many times a week do you stop for a special coffee drink? So make Friday the day you go without. Four Fridays = A child's life.
- Shop. What? Yes, shop. But use Buy4 when you do. By using this site, 30% of your purchase will go to Shot@life. You were probably going to buy a new book or a sweater anyway, why not have some of those funds go to a good cause?
- Believing: I believe that every child deserves a healthy life no matter where they live. Because of that belief I pledge to do what I can to help those children have a "shot@life."
|With fellow champions (and Mom Congress delegates) Jen DeFranco and Felisa Hilbert|
My children have that shot. For those of you reading this blog who have children, chances are pretty good that you have been able to provide your family with that shot. For those of you reading this who aren't parents, chances are you might be an uncle, an aunt, work with children, or just be connected in some way with the understanding that all children deserve a shot at...being messy eaters, having temper tantrums, participating in sibling rivalry. A shot at....
So join me in the months ahead as I, along with other champions, along with you, help to give all children a shot@life.
Because doesn't every child deserve a shot of having someone be their champion?
The Shot@Life campaign covered my travel to Washington and accommodations,
but otherwise I am working on a volunteer basis and receive no monetary compensation.