Five years ago today, my husband and I brought Camila into this world. She was healthy as can be, active and awake from day one, and loved and taken care of with an obsession characteristic of first-time parents.
Every year she’s hit her milestones right on target and continues to mature into an intelligent, creative and loving girl. Every year on August 18th we celebrate her life with a party of some sorts — cake, a piñata, friends, games and plenty of gifts. What we never do is really and deeply recognize just how incredibly blessed we are to have these annual celebrations with her.
Thanks to Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation, I’ve learned that, unlike my daughter, most children in developing countries never make it to celebrate their 5th birthday because they lack basic medical care and the routine vaccines that we have ready access to and may even, in radical cases, take for granted.
The exact and overwhelming figure would be that 1 in 5 children around the world lack access to life saving vaccines. In fact, immunization saves the lives of 2.5 million children every year.
To put the above statistics into perspective, it means that the number of kids that die every year from preventable diseases in developing countries is nearly equivalent to half the children entering kindergarten in the U.S.
Now that really brings it home for me because, not only is my daughter turning 5 today, but she’s also entering kindergarten on Monday. She’s one of the lucky ones around the world that has access to vaccines and has gotten to celebrate all her 5-years-of-life milestones.
Today I ask you to make your comments count and help me celebrate my daughter’s birthday. Help me create with this post a living testament that Camila’s 5th birthday will be one to be remembered, because the real gifts she receives will be your comments and the joy to know each one left here through the end of August will be matched with a $20 donation* — what it costs to give one child four life saving vaccines and help them on their way to celebrating their fifth birthday and first day of kindergarten.
Your comments in the last three and a half years have meant the world to me. You’ve been part of my girl’s evolution as a bilingual princesa. You’ve held my virtual hand when it’s gotten tough. We’ve laughed together at the nuances of our shared challenges. You’ve celebrated our triumphs. Now, I ask you to celebrate my daughter’s life with a comment and a shout out to your friends to join the party. A simple “Feliz Cumpleaños” left in the comments below will not only light up Camila’s face now and for the years to come when I show her this, but it will also become a $20 donation that will give one more kid a real Shot@Life.
You know we all like a good fiesta, let’s make this a huge and memorable one!
And if you want to make it even bigger, once you’ve commented here, head over to Jenny Eckton of Formerly Phread who passed the Blogust baton to me with her inspiring post “Help the Child, Help the Mother.” Then, follow the relay tomorrow over at Ilina Ewen’s blog, Dirt & Noise. Every comment here, there and on all 31 posts until August 31st will count towards our goal. You will make it count.
*This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries.
During Shot@Life’s Blogust: Blog Relay for Good, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about people from our communities who have inspired us. Every comment on this post and the 30 other posts will be matched with a $20 donation (up to a maximum of $200,000). That’s 10,000 comments. And 10,000 children. $20 is what it costs to give one child four life-saving vaccines to help protect them against measles, pneumonia, diarrhea and polio. A child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine preventable disease. We can help stop this.
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