What does it take to make you cry? A poignant scene in a movie? A friend going through a tough time? A remembrance of a lost love? A tender song from your childhood? A yellowed photo of Mom or Dad, now gone and sorely missed?
Tears can be brought to our eyes by all kinds of things.
I promise that watching a video of a newborn in the throes of the seizures brought on by maternal/neonatal tetanus will bring tears to the eyes of any caring person. Check YouTube and type in “Eliminate Project” and see for yourself.
The babies born to women who have contracted tetanus die within a week of their births, and that death is not a calm, peaceful sleep.
Tetanus causes these infants to be hypersensitive to sound, light and touch.
The mothers can’t hold or comfort them, as any physical contact causes pain. The babies are blindfolded, because any light in their eyes is agonizing to them.
During their brief lives they suffer convulsions, one after another, until they die. And the saddest part of all is that this tragedy is completely avoidable.
Tetanus occurs in the soil all over the world and rarely causes problems here in the U.S. because of widespread vaccination of children and adults. In areas of the globe where vaccination has not been available, babies born of mothers with tetanus die for lack of a vaccine series — three shots which cost 60 cents each.
It makes me cry to think that every nine minutes a newborn needlessly dies a horrible death. It makes me smile to know that a program exists which can save a child for less than the cost of a candy bar.
Kiwanis Project Eliminate Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT), in partnership with UNICEF, is an up-and-ready program already eliminating the scourge of tetanus worldwide. It began in September of 2010 and will eradicate this disease in five years — that is, by Oct. 1, 2015 we will have brought down MNT to our goal of one or fewer cases in 1,000 live births.
Of the 40 countries targeted in 2010, already six are clear of MNT.
In India, one of the remaining targeted countries, more than half of their states are now MNT free.
When a presenter at our recent Kiwanis conference, a gray-haired Vietnam veteran, a no-nonsense, suit and tie guy, dabbed the tears from his eyes while describing the effects of tetanus, I reached for my Kleenex. When our local Kiwanis president explained that the money pledged from the Payson club will go to support this very important worldwide service project, his voice cracked with emotion, and again I felt the tears.
So, what does it take to make you cry?
To learn more, contact me at www.Kiwanis-Southwest.org or call (928) 978-4323 or (928) 474-5251, ext. 105.