Shot@Life is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects, and empowers individuals to champion global vaccines as one of the most effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. Shot@Life Champions are our volunteer advocates who support Shot@Life across the U.S. and throughout the world!
This fall, Shot@Life is challenging supporters to stand up to help protect kids from polio and eradicate this debilitating disease by participating in Race to Erase polio! Race to Erase is a 5K run or walk (or any other event you desire) completed by YOU in the countdown to World Polio Day on October 24, 2016. From late August until the end of October, participants will be encouraged to advocate and raise funds for polio eradication efforts. This is a great opportunity for students to get their campuses involved in Shot@Life’s efforts to support global childhood immunization programs.
Suraj Shankar is a Shot@Life Champion and a sophomore pre-med student at the University of Kansas. He is a strong believer in global access to medicine and vaccination and found Shot@life to be the perfect opportunity to get involved with the two ideas. He attended the 2016 Shot@Life Champion Summit in Washington, D.C and had a great experience. After the Summit, he came back to his university and recruited a group of students who were also passionate about global medicine and are eager to advocate!
How do you balance being a student with being a Shot@Life Champion?
It is not too difficult! I keep up with advocacy over the weekends or whenever a special Shot@Life event is going on. Thanks to all the amazing resources on the community website, this is made even easier. The only time it really interfered with school was during the Summit when I had to take three days off, but it was totally worth it!
Can you talk a bit more about the work you've done with Shot@Life at the University of Kansas?
I have told many of my peers about the Shot@Life campaign and the importance of global immunization. Additionally, I gave a presentation on Shot@Life to my medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, and about 15 people ended up going through the training! I hope to get a group of students to go down to next year's Summit.
What is your favorite memory with Shot@Life?
The banquet during the Summit was a ton of fun. Getting to unwind after a long day and socialize with all the other awesome Champions was pretty neat. Moreover, the speakers at the banquet were amazing and really gave me a look into how passionate and driven the Shot@Life campaign is about global vaccination. It inspired me to spread the word and do as much as I can!
What do you want people to know about being a Champion?
I want people to know that you really can make a difference through advocacy. The "asks" that Shot@Life has may seem lofty at first, but when all of us work together to advocate and get our message out there, our goals become very attainable! Even if you aren't a person that is generally involved in politics, Shot@Life really helps you reach out to your representatives and inform them about our cause. You should not underestimate the influence you have!
See more about the Race to Erase Campaign here. If you are interested in getting involved in Shot@Life and Race to Erase, email Shannon Aud at firstname.lastname@example.org.