A polio survivor’s wish: Vaccinations for all children

By Global Moms Challenge

May 18, 2015

Minda Dentler

This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action), up to $300,000, to four causes helping improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide: MAMAShot@LifeU.S. Fund for UNICEF and Girl Up. Scroll to the bottom to find out more.

Minda and BabyOne month ago, I was nervously holding my 2-month-old daughter in my lap at our pediatrician’s office in New York City, waiting for her to get her first series of vaccinations. What would have appeared to be a routine visit was in fact, a huge moment in my life.

You see, my legs were paralyzed by polio many years ago when I was an infant. I was born to a single mother and domestic worker in Mumbai, India. I was left at an orphanage because my birth mother could not care for me. I was adopted by an American family and moved to the U.S. where I could receive much needed medical care.

When we left our pediatrician’s office, my eyes began to well up as I started thinking about all the things that my daughter would not have to face because she would not have to suffer the debilitating effects of polio. I actually started listing out all of the ways that her life would be different from mine, all the things she would be able to do that were so hard for me – because of a vaccine.

When I see her lift her little leg up I begin to imagine and see that she will be able to walk, free from the thick, heavy leg braces and crutches that I must use to walk.  I think about how she will not only be able to walk, but she will be able to run and play soccer, basketball, softball–anything she wants.

She will not have to limit her choices of where she will live, work and play because of her mobility. Her physical being will not prevent her from harnessing new opportunities or having a better life.

The kind of world that I want for my family and all families around the globe in 2030, is a world that is free from preventable diseases, like polio. No child should have to live with paralysis especially when the disease is completely preventable with a vaccine.

Giving children worldwide access to vaccines is critical as they are among the most successful and cost-effective ways to protect our children’s health. Yet, 1 in 5 children globally do not have access to vaccines. Children who have not been vaccinated and are infected with preventable diseases, such as polio, can face a lifetime of hardship, even death–every year, 1.7 million children die from preventable diseases.

Minda Dentler Road

Fortunately, we are closer than ever to eliminating preventable diseases like polio. Since 1988, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio, and an estimated 5 million children, who otherwise would have been paralyzed like me, are walking.

By 2030, my hope is that polio, and other preventable diseases will truly be a thing of the past. As a new mom, I am excited about this possibility. I want all children of the world, no matter their circumstances to have a real shot at a healthy life.

Minda is a Shot@Life Champion. We asked several other mom and dad Shot@Life champions what kind of world they want for their families. The responses are beautiful – just watch! Every video view counts as an additional action.


You share, they give: Each time you ‘like’ or share this post via the social media icons on this post or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $300,000, to improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMAShot@LifeU.S. Fund for UNICEFand Girl Up$1 provides 1 life-saving measles vaccine for a child in the Philippines through Shot@Life.

You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or UNICEF, up to $100,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone. Share this post with the hashtag #GlobalMoms, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more. The United Nations FoundationJohnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.

* via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.

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