One year ago, the UN Foundation Shot@Life campaign started. It started with around 40 Champions and has grown to over 400 women and men from all across America. Together we’re creating grassroots efforts to spread awareness for the need for vaccines. A child dies every 20 seconds from diseases we know how to prevent like pneumonia, measles and diarrhea.
And in honor of the Shot@Life birthday this week, I’d like to introduce you to one of those amazing Champions, Lee Reyes-Fournier.
What made you get involved with Shot@Life?
As a professional psychotherapist, I have spent most of my adult life working for non-profits and providing services for the less fortunate. When I started writing full time 4 years ago, I put my practice and passions on hold for a time. I write with my husband who is also a passionate advocate and we would take on different causes within our writing, social injustice or fundraising, but it wasn’t enough. Last year I spent a good chunk of my writing time writing for the President and it felt good to get in the trenches again.
Paul and I went to Type A last June and went to the Social Good session where we met Devi Ramachandran Thomas and heard about Shot@Life. We learned about how every 20 seconds a child dies of a preventable disease. We learned about the mission of Shot@Life and we were hooked!
We adopted internationally long ago and our daughter was born in a place that led the world in horrible preventable diseases like meningitis and rotovirus. One of the first things we did is have her vaccinated. The Shot@Life story was her story, too. We signed up for the blog carnival last summer and began our journey of writing and spreading the word for Shot@Life. When I received the email that they wanted me to be a Champion, we were going up the mountain to get home. It was snowing, the wind was blowing bitterly and Paul had to get out of the car to put chains on. I read the email three times before I got out of the car without my jacket and we celebrated despite the frigid temps and snow. This is the stuff we were born to do and I was so humbled to have the opportunity.
What are your super powers–special qualities that make you a champion?
I keep my cape hidden under my clothes. I have been blessed with a way with words. I don’t know if it has to do with my education and experience as a therapist, but I am a storyteller at heart and enjoy speaking with people. I can make you laugh or I can make you cry. I think that is a super power.
If you could have one Champion wish- what would it be?
Simply put, I would wish that every child born in this world would have a Shot@Life. I wish people would wake up in this country and see that their decision to not vaccinate their children or delay the vaccination is a luxury that can turn into a tragedy. I wish all the mothers who have lost their children because they did not have access to vaccines peace in their grief.
What do you think champions are made of?
I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Champions in Washington, D.C.. These men and women came from all walks of life from M.D.s to bloggers to Pharmacy Students to outreach workers to students. What I found was that a champion is a stubborn, smart, passionate, funny, emotional, driven, crafty, giving, problem solving, bold, courageous and unstoppable force of nature. They are the kind of people you want with you in a battlefield and the boardroom. They are the cream of the crop and the best of the best.