You Can Make Their Wishes Come True

Melanie Birthday Cabbage Patch Kid

I still remember blowing out the six candles on my cake and wishing with everything I had that the present in front of me was a Cabbage Patch Kid doll. I was the only little girl I knew who didn’t have one, and I felt like I was living a deprived existence.

I was so excited when I tore into the wrapping paper and found a doll named Cori that looked surprisingly like me.

At that moment, my six-year-old world was complete. I was surrounded by family, I had the present I had hoped for, and I had cake.

What I didn’t know then was that simply turning six was a wish many kids throughout the world would never be granted. I had no idea how lucky I was.

Today, I’m starting to realize. I recently learned that the highest rates of child mortality continues to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, where, in 2008, one in seven children died before their fifth birthday.

One in seven!

But sometimes it’s easier not to think about statistics like that, because when we think about it, we start to think about ourselves at that age. We start to think about our own kids, or nieces and nephews, or neighbors and friends. We start to put faces to the statistic. Faces like this one.

That’s when it becomes real. That’s when it stops being about some astronomical number and starts being about living, breathing children.

Children who don’t have to die.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the social media conference EVO, where the organization Shot@Life spoke of their crusade to provide life-saving vaccines to children in need. Their whole mission is to give kids a chance to grow up, and you can help.

Learn about their cause.

Donate.

Get involved.

Spread the word.

It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something. Even the smallest act can help a child make it to their next birthday. Even the smallest act can help make their wishes come true.