Two weeks ago, I was invited to Washington D.C. on the behalf of the UN Foundation and Shot at Life, to advocate on Capitol Hill and learn ways that I can lend my voice in my home state to speak about global health and vaccines for children in impoverished nations. While I was nervous about visiting Capitol Hill to speak with my Missouri senators and representatives, I knew that this was something that I wanted to do. When it comes to giving children the opportunity at a healthy life, there’s no way I could say no. Shot at Life is an organization that I wanted to stump for passionately.
During the three day event, we took over Capitol Hill, learned about advocacy work and utilizing press releases and other forms of communication, bonded over new friendships while strengthening ones already made. It was a wonderful experience and I was honored to be one of the persons selected as a Shot at Life Champion.
So what now? Where do we go from here?
Well, I first want to discuss a few untruths that have been circulating about immunizations. While on Capitol Hill, one of the questions I got the most was why should we worry about children in other countries while we have children here who need our attention. For me, the answer is simple. It’s not an either or; I think we should be care about all children in the world, not just those in the U.S. When we travel abroad to other countries and someone isn’t immunized, they can easily bring a disease back to the U.S, which can then affect children here in our country. When one child sick with a preventable disease, then we all can be affected.
In terms of immunizations causing autism and other developmental disorders, there is no scientific data or proof that substantiates that. I have two children that both were immunized at the benchmark appropriate ages, and they were not adversely affected. There have been claims that vaccines cause problems, but they have been debunked by most medical professionals.
Two of the most common causes of death amongst children was pneumonia and diarrhea, and both can be hugely prevented by existing vaccines. Making vaccines available to all children can prevent 1.5 million additional deaths each year.
Some moms in impoverished countries walk as far as 15 miles to get their children vaccinated. Shot at Life believes that it shouldn’t be hard for parents to get immunizations for their children. For just a few dollars, we can give children all over the world a real shot at life.
How can you help?
Join me by following Shot@Life on Facebook and Twitter, so you can learn more about how to help spread global health. If you are interested in joining the fight with me and want to become a Shot at Life Champion as well, click HERE.
If you are in the St. Louis area, I will be hosting an event in the next few months on the behalf of Shot at Life. Make sure to stay peeled to my Facebook and Twitter for event information.
There is nothing controversial about giving a child a Shot at Life. Something that affects one, affects us all.