Six and a half years ago, our family was blessed with a fiery little ball of spunk.
Often times parents claim their children to be the cutest, sweetest, and smartest children on the planet and fortunately for them, many of them haven't met our E. This girl could talk you out of the clothes on your back, and she doesn't do it with puppy dog eyes and batted eyelashes, she does it with sharp negotiating savvy, unwavering determination, and astonishing intelligence.
When this little bundle of endless energy entered our lives, I was totally and utterly freaked out (to put it lightly) to go through the delivery process. Granted, I wasn't a new mom, I had inherited 2 amazing sons when I married my husband just a few years prior, but I hadn't had to actually have them.
Typically up to this point in my life, I'd avoided the doctor's office. It's nothing personal really, I just didn't get sick often and I would have rather not been poked and prodded. I didn't like to take medicine and hospitals totally freaked me out. Needless to say, the thoughts I'd had about natural childbirth faded quickly when the birthing pains set in, and while I did black out for a portion of the delivery process due to a mistake with the epidural, I was proud overall of my experience. Anxious to be released, I was out of the hospital as soon as the doctors and nurses gave me the go-ahead.
At that point, outside of the comforts of that epidural (that was actually sort of freaky in and of itself) and the reassurance of being in a well-staffed hospital, I hadn't really thought much about the convenience of modern medicine. At least, not for a couple more days.
My phone rang one morning. It was a day or so after Christmas and we were still in the haze of new-baby-blissdom. I answered and was taken off guard to hear the nurse at my family doctor's office asking me how soon I could get into the office with my new daughter. I don't remember the details of the conversation, I just remember hearing some things, and missing some others, and realizing that my mind was racing. Obviously, it was only a few hours before I was sitting in the office across from the doctor I'd had for all of my adult life.
The newborn PKU scans had come back with an irregularity and from all they could gather, little E. was born without a thyroid. My lack of education in this regard was apparent and I was given a brief explanation of congenital hypothyroidism. Skipping through all the mumbo jumbo, I was made aware that my brand new perfect daughter would need medication each day for the rest of her life, in order for her to grow and develop properly.
I remember getting into my car, crying, and immediately calling my husband and parents. The complications that could result from a lack of this daily medication were racing through my head.
In the coming months, we endured a steady stream of blood draws and monitoring and I developed an unshakable gratitude for modern medicine. To make a very long story short - almost 7 years later, E. is absolutely just fine. She has been since the very beginning. The medication she takes is very common, creates absolutely no side effects, and is inexpensive, and I'm only occasionally faced with the thoughts of how we would be managing without this modern privilege.
Skip ahead these six and a half years and I find myself at evo conference, a conference that focuses on the evolution of women in social media, something I'm intensely passionate about. We were graced with a keynote presentation by Devi Thomas, the director of the Shot@Life Campaign for the United Nations Foundation. She shared some very simple yet very staggering statistics about childhood death in developing countries.
- from a disease that could have been prevented with an inexpensive vaccine.
- Children are disabled or killed every year by vaccine-preventable diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio.
- Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two biggest killers of children under five, and account for more than one-third of childhood deaths worldwide.
- Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial disease that can cause meningitis and pneumonia. While this disease is easily preventable, it is a leading killer of children around the world. Preventing the disease through a vaccine will save MILLIONS OF LIVES.
I'm a mother, and if you ARE a mother or KNOW a mother, you might grasp the intense love we have for our children. I was blessed to be born in a nation with easy access to modern medicine. While I never fully appreciated it, until I had children, I realize now how blessed I am.
Can you imagine that there are mothers in Sudan that expect their children to die when they're born? It's become so common that often tears are not even shed with these losses. This is simply unspeakable.
After the conference I was inspired and I realized something:
I am one mother, but I have a community.
I have you, and you have your community.
This can snowball and we can make a difference.
Wouldn't you like to help? Wouldn't you like to donate? Wouldn't you love to help someone like darling little Tanga?
YOU can give them a shot.
Like E., give them a chance to enjoy their first day of Kindergarten.
Do your homework. Find a way to make a difference. Make the future of our earth just a little bit better. Start today.
to learn more about the campaign.
($20 gives a child a lifetime of immunity from pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and measles but you can donate as little as $5).“Like” Shot@Life on Facebook. Shot@Life on Twitter