Shot@Life is an organization that’s on the mission to help ensure that children worldwide get the vaccinations they need to have a shot at a healthy life. They are doing this by educating on the need of certain vaccinations in developing countries and getting the American Public involved through advocacy and donations. This week Shot@Life celebrating their 1st birthday and I believe all birthdays should be celebrated and well documented. I decided to celebrate by recognizing some of the things the organization accomplished over the past year and by taking part in their birthday bash by putting the spot light on one of the Shot@Life champions.
Shot@Life has accomplished some amazing things over the past year, they helped ensure that thousands of children around the world reach the milestone of celebrating a first birthday by receiving life-saving vaccines, sent over 26,000 letters to Congress, and grew this movement to over 190,000 supporters.
As a new champion myself I was excited to meet other champions and learn what they are doing to help grow the movement. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco who is a veteran public health/pediatric nurse practitioner and a nationally recognized expert on immunizations. Read her very personal story in the below interview and find out why she decided to become a Shot@Life champion.
SPOT LIGHT INTERVIEW WITH SHOT@LIFE CHAMPION
Me: How did you hear about Shot@Life?
Mary Beth: I heard about Shot@Life from my wonderful friends at Every Child By Two. Betty Bumpers, former first lady of Arkansas, talked about what a fabulous organization Shot@Life was and how committed she was to it. She was determined to raise awareness and funds about this wonderful organization. Last year at the Immunization Coalitions Conference in New Orleans, Mrs. Bumpers spoke and as a gift to her everyone donated to Shot@Life in her honor! Mrs. Bumpers spoke passionately about how children in the developing world should have access to the same life saving vaccines as American children. ECBT honored me by nominating me to be a new champion to join Shot@Life and I was thrilled to be selected.
Me: Why did you decide to get involved with Shot@life?
Mary Beth: My mom had polio when she was 3 and she is 93 now and suffers from post polio syndrome. My sister almost died from measles. All along as I vaccinated children here in the US and watched them grow up safe and healthy I wondered how we could get the same life saving vaccines to children in developing countries so these children could have the same chance to be free of vaccine preventable disease just like American children. I often asked the drug companies what are we doing for the children in other parts of the world who do not have the same opportunities as our American children. I never received satisfying answers and then Every Child By Two asked me to be an immunization champion for Shot@Life! and one of my fondest wishes came true! I found a way to help children who don’t have the advantages that American children have. So now I hooked! I do not plan to stop until ALL children regardless of where they live will have a shot@life
Me: Give me an example of an event/situation that occurred during your time as a Shot@life champion that really supported your convictions about global vaccinations and made you want to persuade others to get involved.
Mary Beth: I got involved because I am passionate that children in the developing world have the same access to life saving vaccines as our own children here in America. Years ago as more and more vaccines became available here in the US I thought about the children in the developing world and wondered how we can get vaccines to them. I asked representatives from the various drug companies what was being done to help these children. They said that programs were being developed but it never seemed to me that a great deal of progress was being made. Yes there were successes such as the progress being made with the eradication of polio but it was not enough. Now I have a way to make a difference in children’s lives that I never thought imaginable! My mother is 93 and had polio when she was 3 years old and now has post polio syndrome and my sister almost died from measles. I have now found a way to help prevent other families in the developing world from having to watch their children go through the same terrifying encounters with vaccine preventable diseases as my family has.
Me: What have you done over the past year to help spread the word about Shot@Life and the importance of expanding access to global vaccines?
Mary Beth: Over the past year I have used my extensive network of Nurse Practitioner and Nurse colleagues to bring other nursing organizations on board to become supporters of Shot@Life. Two of the organizations that are looking to work with Shot@Life are The American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the National School Nurses Association and I am working on relationships with other organizations. These organizations represent thousands of nurse practitioners and nurses who also care deeply about all children.
Me: What do you have planned for the remainder of the year to get more people involved with Shot@Life?
Mary Beth: In the coming year I plan to continue to network with other nursing organizations to get them involved with Shot@Life and to make other nursing professionals aware of the work that needs to be done to give all children in the world the same shot at a life free of vaccine preventable diseases. The children that are saved could be the ones who make the next great scientific breakthrough or finally bring peace to the world.
Me: Why should people take part in this movement? How can they get involved?
Mary Beth: People need to get involved because every child is precious and worth saving and we owe it to each other as human persons to care for each other regardless of where or under what circumstances we live in. I believe that we were all put here not to take up space but to leave the world a better place. I think we all have unique gifts whether it is raising funds or raising awareness, and that is why there is room for everyone under the big tent at Shot@Life. Shot@Life is looking to make lots more champions so it is time for others to step up and become a champion. It is really easy when you look into the faces of the beautiful children who will be able to look forward to a healthier life. So get involved either by hosting or attending a Shot@Life event or really jump in and become a champion but everyon must do something. The future of our world depends on it.
Celebrate with everyone at Shot@Life…help grow the movement!
Leave me a comment telling me what you want to give all children a shot at?
I WANT TO GIVE ALL KIDS A SHOT @ PLAYING HIDE AND SEEK