Blogust 2014 : Happy and Healthy Firsts

August 1, 2014

Dr Visit

It’s that time of year again! The time where your comments (and shares and likes) are currency, quite literally. I believe it was the bright and beautiful Liz Gumbinner who coined that phrase 3 years ago (brilliant, yes?) and that idea was the impetus for Blogust; the inspiring and life-changing project created by Devi Thomas supported by the entire Shot at Life team and brought to life by bloggers like you and me. I can’t begin to tell you how much of an honor it is to be an “alumni” of Blogust, having the pleasure of sharing my story on Aug 10 2012. A story, not unlike all the others shared by the Blogust team, where each comment someone shared actually translated into a vaccine for a child who desperately needed one. A simple comment gave a child the shot at the healthy and happy life they so deserve.  And so the torch is passed.

Today, August 1st, I’m thrilled to announce that myself and all the other alumni are kicking off Blogust, round 3 with posts and Instagram pix and a Twitter kickoff party (Aug 1st 1pm ET- Join us)!  Blogust is a blog celebration where each day of August, a new inspiring blogger shares a story about the happy and healthy firsts that they have experienced in their own lives. Follow along each day and leave your comment on each post to be sure you’re contributing to the cause. It’s an important one. And all it takes is a comment to donate a vaccine (thanks to the help of Walgreens). It’s that easy.

In honor of the theme, I wanted to share a window into my world of happy and healthy firsts. Of course, when I think of that phrase, my mind immediately goes to moments like “first steps” or “first tooth” or even “first day of school”. I’ve long passed those milestones with my girls and am grateful for every one. Ironically, the firsts don’t end there. They just keep coming. And regardless how grown up my babies are getting, these more grown up firsts still feel as huge, as exciting, as monumental as those precious early firsts (if not moreso). And with that, I want to share just a few of the images that I was getting in real time via my oldest daughter’s instagram feed just a few weeks ago. Her First College Tour Road Trip. Happy and healthy, as she maps out the course of her bold and brilliant future.

College Pix on Instagram

How amazing is that? Be still my mama heart.

OK, I shared mine (sniff sniff) now you share yours. How about it? Leave a comment here today sharing your favorite “first” to date (or just to say hello) and in exchange, a child will be vaccinated.

Thank you


During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000).  Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world. 

Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! For more information, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Now, let’s get this happy and healthy party started!

Share a Shot for Giving Tuesday

December 2, 2013


Just in time for #GivingTuesday I want to share with you a creative new way to help give your voice and your talent, to give kids a shot at the happy healthy life they deserve. My friend and fellow Shot@Life champion Ciaran Blumenfeld have come up with a way to share our “snaps” to help spread the word about the “shots” that so many kids need to protect them from the preventable diseases that have the potential to kill them. Imagine if you thought you might lose your children to a common childhood illness like diarrhea. I know. I can’t imagine either! Because we don’t think any mother should suffer the loss of a child at all, let alone from a preventable disease, we need your help.

Please help us bring awareness to the important work that Shot@Life is doing by tagging your Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest “snaps” with the hashtag #snapshotatlife. Take it a small step further and mention our Instagram account as well (@snapshotatlife) so people can follow along and more importantly easily find the link to our Snapshotatlife team fundraising page where we are collecting donations to support the cause and vaccinate the kids who are at the greatest risk of dying from diseases like Rotavirus, Pneumonia, Measles and Polio. Won’t you join the team?

And speaking of donations, I am giddy to share something amazing! Ciaran is donating $500 to Shot@Life on behalf of the Snapshotatlife team. Yes, $500! You have got to pop over to read her Smile it Forward post. How crazy awesome and super generous is that? Talk about giving us something to smile about. $500 translates to 25 kids immunized for life! Amazing and totally inspiring. Thank you Ciaran (and Invisalign).

All that to say, I hope you consider shooting and sharing your “snaps” with us by tagging your everyday pictures (of family, friends moments and memories) with the tag #snapshotatlife and on this fine Giving Tuesday consider giving What you can to help immunize a child who deserves to live a happy. healthy life. We’ll be sharing photos, raising awareness and funds for the rest of 2013. Help us make a difference!

Daredevil Sikha Patra

February 18, 2013


Before the election my daughter’s World History teacher asked her class to share what issues they would present the President with if they had the chance. My daughter eagerly shared her passion for eradicating Polio and said that, if given the chance she would urge the President to help us with the support and final financial push needed to end the disease. He teacher questioned her issue coming back with, “Polio? Really? Aren’t we done with that? I think there are far more pressing issues.” Needless to say she was deflated, not to mention frustrated because she knows better.

And so does Sikha Patra. Sikha and her friends are so vigilant about the issue of Polio in their own village that on scheduled health days, they spend their free time wielding their handmade megaphones through the streets of their village and walking from house to house to remind each family to get their children their Polio vaccines. In fact, in a soon-coming and highly-anticipated documentary film The Revolutionary Optimists (of which I had the honor of screening at The Shot@Life Champion Summit) you’ll see Sikha and her friends rally around the cause and help mothers by taking their babies in to get thier Polio drops because the mothers couldn’t. Did I mention that Sikha was 13 at the time? Watching children advocating oh behalf of other children like this might be one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen.

18_Sikha Patra_Tracey ClarkSikha is a member of the group Daredevils (how awesome is that for a name?); a group that helps collect health data and rallies the community around important health issues like vaccines. The passionate and committed group divides the block, makes cartoon posters, and does puppet shows to get kids and families to come to the health days. Sikha also helps survey the neighborhoods and track how many kids have been vaccinated. She believes in the United Nations’ Children’s Rights Charter right to live and that is why she is so passionate about bringing people to polio days.

I know, right? Crazy awesome stuff.

If this is the first time you have heard the story of Sikha and the Daredevils, I promise you, it won’t be the last. That being said, I am bursting at the seams to share this clip with you from the documentary where she and other equally inspirational children from Kolkata (Calcutta) India are brought to light. It’s my privilege to share this with you. I promise, you will be totally inspired!

I can only hope to be as brave and committed as Sikha Pertra in my life. She is such an inspiration.

Thanks to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and people like Sikha, the number of new cases of polio has dropped 99 percent. We are  *this close* but, we still have work to do to eradicate Polio. Please use your voice, like Sikha does and help the fight. Imagine the impact we could have if we would all act like Daredevils?


The impact of vaccines on the lives of children around the world is incredible. Now, you can help sustain the impact by sending an email to your member of congress. Welcome your members to the 113th Congress and ask them to make sure that global health and vaccines are a priority in the new Congress. Take action and make an impact!

This story comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is part of Shot@Life’s ’28 Days of Impact’ Campaign. A follow up to Blogust to raise awareness for global vaccines and the work being done by Shot@Life and their partners to help give children around the world a shot at a healthy life. Each day in February, you can read another impactful story on global childhood vaccines. Tomorrow, don’t miss Maggie Carter’s post! Go to to learn more.  

Photos courtesy of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

A trip to New York

October 1, 2012

I recently had the most amazing trip to New York City with the United Nations Foundation and the Shot@Life campaign. I have so many things to share about the trip. About how much I learned. About the amazing people that were there.  About how incredibly honored I feel to be a part of a team of people who are using their voices for the greater good. It was an incredible experience.

That my husband went with me on the trip, was icing on the cake.

I cannot wait to share more about the Social Good Summit and the rest of my trip but for now, I will just share a few pictures.