I have been a part of the Shot At Life advocacy program for several years. This year though, I got to participate in my very first Shot At Life Champion Summit in Washington DC and it was magnificent. I can tell you right now that between the summit sessions and the day of lobbying on Capitol Hill I left viewing the champion program with a new found respect. Earlier in my blog I interviewed one of the champions for the 1st birthday of the Shot At Life program, and now here I am coming full circle. Look at that.
Just in case you don’t get it, below is the photo of all of the champions from around the country. These champions met with their members of Senate and Congress and talked about how important vaccines were in order to keep epidemics from hitting this country and others. I’m not sure how many of you remember the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland back in January of last year. The cases of measles rose to 73 during that time, and it was found to be linked to an unvaccinated child and spread so quickly because so many children were unvaccinated in general. With something as scary as that, could you imagine dozens of babies being infected? I wouldn’t want to imagine that.
What I saw at the summit weren’t a bunch of crazed individuals yelling at people to vaccinate their children. I saw educated people from all walks of life producing scientific ( I love science) evidence that vaccines work, and improve quality of life for so many. In most countries, all instances of polio have all but been eradicated, and I’m certain that I’ll be alive long enough to see it wiped out entirely. There were champions armed with information and stories of the work that they have done in the United States and overseas. Fundraising, informational sessions and letter writing. Grassroots work, and all voluntarily.
With my visit to Malawi last year, and just travel all over the nation in general, I just think it’s about time for preventable diseases to be kept at bay. Our children would be able to laugh a little bit longer, and run a little bit longer, and just live a little bit longer.
You can also become a champion for Shot at Life as well. It doesn’t take any special activation, but it does take your voice. Sharing with others. As much or as little as you want. You can do it. I believe in you.