That's why when you find yourself listening to NPR you have what they term "driveway moments." Sure the ice cream is melting in the trunk and you still haven't put that load of wet clothes in the dryer, but you literally cannot leave your seat because you have to finish listening to what is being talked about.
I had that moment today. Terry Gross on Fresh Air was interviewing Jeffrey Gettleman about his reports for the NYT about the crisis in Somalia (for which he is receiving a George Polk award). As they talked I immediately connected to what I have learned from the incredible staff at the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life global vaccination awareness campaign because Gettleman pointed out that the ongoing struggle with malnutrition and famine has been a catalyst for some very major measles outbreaks, causing the deaths of thousands of children. Certainly the prevention of vaccinations from the militant group Al Shabab has also contributed considerably to this heartbreaking situation. And that's exactly what it is: heartbreaking.
It is heartbreaking to consider that in other nations, due to circumstances beyond their control, a child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease. Every 20 seconds. That mothers and older siblings walk as far as 15 miles to make sure their children receive these vaccinations. And finally, that 1.7 million children globally don't have access to vaccines.
|Photo courtesy of the United Nations Foundation|
Let's not let this "driveway moment" become a "drive away moment" where we listen, shake our heads, wave our fist in the air at the injustice of it all, then go back to our to-do list. Let's add this to our list. Let's put this at the top of the list. To make a difference. To make sure that all children have a shot at celebrating their first birthdays, at going to school, at sibling rivalry, at being messy eaters, at being healthy no matter where they live.
Your "to-do" isn't complicated or even time consuming. Go to www.shotatlife.org/Act/ and sign a pledge. Take an extra step and make a donation. You can go to Myrdin Thompson's Charitable Life on Crowdrise. You can invest in a healthier world and immunize a child.
You can put peanut butter in the pantry tomorrow. You can make sure all the pairs of socks are in the washing machine tomorrow. You can call the dentist tomorrow.
Today you can be a champion.
Today you can be a hero.
Today you can give a child a Shot@life.