It’s interesting how something random can bring up an old memory. This week, while in Washington, D.C. for the Shot@Life Champion Summit, I was reminded of a moment that happened with me when Ayva was a little baby. As an infant, she suffered with asthma-like symptoms that were exacerbated in extreme climate conditions. Her first winter was rough, but surprisingly, so was her first summer. Apparently, the air conditioner at her daycare, on full blast to compete with the thick Philly heat, was making her wheeze. Getting sick because the air conditioning is too high? Talk about first world problems, right?
Well, on one particularly hot day, Ayva’s teacher called me because she was concerned about Ayva wheezing. I called her doctor to make a same day appointment, and picked her up to head to the pediatrician’s office. I didn’t have a car, so I stood on a shadeless corner trying to shield my fair-skinned, already sick baby from the sun. As I single mom, I was barely making ends meet, so a car was a want, not a need. The insurance that allowed me to call a doctor for Ayva to be seen within an hour…that was where I needed to put my money. As we waited, not only did I worry about her wheezing, I also worried about her getting overheated or sunburned. Just when I had decided I was going to dip into my rent money and call a cab, the bus came rolling up. Fortunately, Ayva’s godfather picked us up from the appointment, because there was no way I was taking the bus home.
At the Shot@Life Summit, Mentor Champions who had traveled to Uganda to assist with the U.N. Foundation’s efforts at raising awareness for childhood immunization, talked about the mothers who brought their children to be immunized. Many of them walked for days, and then waited in line for hours to see a medical professional. After their children received the lifesaving vaccines, the mothers raised their shot records in the air and cheered. They were proud that they were able to do something to give their children a shot at a healthier life.
I can relate to that sense of doing anything possible to make sure my child has the best of what life has to offer, and I’m willing to sacrifice anything to make that possible. It’s because of those mothers in Uganda, and other countries across the world, who are willing to make the same sacrifices that I make, but with considerably less resources, that I support Shot@Life. It’s because of their children, my daughter’s peers, that I support Shot@Life. It’s because of the fact that if we all do even just a little, we can achieve so much that I support Shot@Life.
I’d love for you to check Shot@Life out. You can find tools and resources to help you learn more about the initiative on the Shot@Life site.
What is a sacrifice that you have made for your child?
Note: I am a Shot@Life Champion. I advocate for global childhood immunization. Childhood immunization is a personal choice. My family believes in it, your family may not. That’s okay.