Each year, thousands of children look forward to the holiday season. The season excites and encourages children to be on their best behavior weeks in advance in anticipation of the treats and goodies they will receive. Yet for some children, gifts are more than just a train set or the newest doll; sometimes it is the chance to live a fuller life.
Each day, 450 children die globally from the measles. This staggering statistic is even more shocking because this disease is completely preventable. Measles deaths are most popular in children under five; and those who survive measles often endure the disease’s effects years after. Life long struggles with pneumonia, blindness, deafness, and neurological disabilities follow survival of the measles.
Since 2001, the fight against measles has vaccinated more than 700 million children in 60 countries. The Measles Initiative, a partnership between the American Red Cross, CDC, UNICEF, WHO, and UN Foundation, has reduced measles deaths by 78% globally. The work of the Measles Initiative reaches all over the world: from Somalia to Senegal, Chad to China, and Ghana to Georgia. Children in these countries (and many more) received their vaccinations and were given the chance to live in the face of such a deadly disease.
Yet, more needs to be done.
This holiday giving season, the American Red Cross is providing you with the ability to make a difference in a child’s life. For less than a $1, you can vaccinate and supplement a child’s immunity against the measles. For $500, you can give an entire village the ability to live in a measles free environment. You can change more than a person’s life this holiday; you can change their community.
While you are searching for gifts to give to those near to your heart, please give from the heart. Nothing makes more of a difference in our world than acts of life-giving kindness, and this year the Red Cross can provide you the ability to change a child’s life. Please look in the American Red Cross Holiday Catalogue for the Measles Initiative, and give a child the gift of vaccination. Together, we can fight measles and save lives.
written by Atlanta Red Cross Project's Intern Sarah Beth Thomas