This was a photo of yours truly taken shortly after my family left Liberia during the Civil War. We hadn’t quite made it to the US yet, as we stopped in Las Palmas for a brief period. Nonetheless, I was safe, happy, healthy and my family was secure in knowing that I would have a different life than many we left behind.
Earlier this year, I took part in a very important initiative called Shot @ Life, a global health initiative whose purpose is to provide the necessary funding to afford vaccinations for children in underdeveloped countries.
Now I am proud to announce that I have been selected as one of 10 Social Good Fellows for the 2016 Blogust initiative, a partner of the United Nations Foundation and Shot @ Life.
Throughout the month of August, Blogust team members are encouraging social action throughout the entire social media community. Every social media “like,” comment or share with the hashtag #Blogust goes to support Shot@Life and trigger donations of funds by Blogust sponsor, MAM to help provide a vaccine to a child in need globally.
My involvement with this entire initiative came as a shock to many due to my association with the Chiropractic lifestyle and the myth that we are anti-vaccinations. To that, I continue to say this: Like all parents, my husband and I want our children to be healthy, happy, strong and as resistant to life threatening disease as possible. We want to exercise our options and not have limits placed on the resources available that pertain to our children’s health. We all want our children to have a shot at life!
Fortunately for me and my family, this has been so easy and we have basked in our privilege to do so. We have had the choice to debate over how and when we wanted our kids vaccinated. We’ve driven less than 10 minutes to our family doctor. We’ve been rest-assured that even in the worst case scenarios, we live in a nation with a great healthcare system filled with options and treatments for nearly every illness or disease; most of which are extremely accessible.
However, as a native of the post-war country of Liberia, West Africa, I have personally seen other mothers who want the exact same things for their children as any mother, but are unfortunately limited in the life-saving resources available to them and their children. They bear the burden of a lack of funding for adequate vaccinations and healthcare, lack of transportation to visit a doctor, medications not being properly maintained, stored, or administered; among other factors. It is nothing short of devastating to imagine that a mother could lose their child by the age of 5 by a completely preventable disease. 5 years old! No parent should have to experience that tragedy. Not in America. Not in Liberia. Not in any developed or underdeveloped country.
Mothers in developing countries need to know that we are not all just so caught up in our first world problems that we fail to acknowledge their struggles and the devastating fears. They need to know that we believe in the power of numbers and as a community, we will join in the fight for the lives of all children. They need to know that these initiatives such as Blogust and Shot @ Life strive to give their children an opportunity to survive well past the age of 5.
Please join me in this powerful initiative and help to contribute to saving the lives of children everywhere. Again, with just a simple tweet with the hashtag #Blogust – or a share or comment on this blog post – MAM will donate 1 life-saving vaccine for a child in need. It’s a small sacrifice for a big, important effort! Please comment on the post, and let’s get tweeting guys!
Blogust is a month-long digital dialogue, bringing together many of the most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions to change the world through inspirational imagery and storytelling. This year marks the fifth year of Blogust helping kids around the world reach their fifth birthday thanks to the power of global vaccines.
The Blogust 2016 digital relay participants will be sharing the story behind #TBT baby photos or videos of themselves, their kid(s) or a side-by-side comparison at important milestones – from first steps or first smile to fifth birthday. Every parent everywhere should be able to experience these milestones, which is why every like, comment and social media share their posts receive (up to 30,000 throughout the month of August 2016) will trigger a donation by MAM to help provide a vaccine for a child in need around the world.