Something’s Gotta Give star Amanda Peet is one of our favorite celeb moms! The actress joined the American Red Cross on Monday to thank a group of students in New York for helping to vaccinate two villages against measles. Amanda – mom to daughters Frankie, 4, Molly, 1 – has long been outspoken on the topic of childhood vaccinations.
The champion for childhood immunizations tells Celebrity Baby Scoop “every day, 450 children in this world die from measles – a disease that is entirely preventable with a vaccine.” Amanda goes on to talk about the Measles Initiative and how she’s “committed to reducing measles deaths globally.”
CBS: Tell us about partnering with the Red Cross Measles Initiative at Nest +m school in New York.
AP: “I joined the American Red Cross on Monday, May 9, 2011 in surprising a group of 500 students at Nest+m school in New York City. I wanted to celebrate the students’ work toward vaccinating two villages of children against one of the most contagious and deadly diseases – measles.
Throughout the month, the Nest+m school will host a series of competitions and other activities to help students raise enough money to vaccinate their third village. During the rally, I presented the school’s Red Cross club with the “Measles Initiative Advocates of the Month” honor for their dedication to the cause year round. Before leaving, I also read It Couldn’t Be the Measles – a rhyming story about a spotted elephant by Brian D. Hahn – to a Kindergarten class. It was especially heart-warming to listen to how the younger students – my daughter’s age – planned to help reduce the health challenges families in Africa and Asia face every day.”
CBS: Why is this cause so important to you?
AP: “Every day, 450 children in this world die from measles – a disease that is entirely preventable with a vaccine. We have an actual cure, yet innocent children are still dying at alarming numbers.
Why? I learned why… The measles vaccine may exist, but many parents and children in this world do not have access to that cure. They live in remote villages, in countries with weak and inadequate health care systems. Routine immunization is a foreign concept altogether.
Can you imagine watching your child die from a disease that a simple vaccine could have cured? It is not right. We take so much for granted in this country. When my children were born, my husband and I made the choice to vaccinate them against measles. Why shouldn’t other parents have that same choice and that same peace of mind? Why shouldn’t those children be protected the way mine are?
The good news is that groups like the American Red Cross and the United Nations joined together in 2001 and formulated a plan to bring mass measles vaccination campaigns to countries and villages all over the world. For two years, I have been a volunteer with the American Red Cross, advocating on behalf of its Measles Initiative, a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally.”
CBS: Are other schools around the country implementing similar initiatives?
AP: “Nest+m school is just one example of how young people are making a difference. The desire from New York teens to help save children and protect entire villages half a world a way is also evident in other cities, including San Diego, Chicago and Houston. This is a generous generation, willing to take the change out of their pocket and change a child’s future.”
CBS: How can the rest of us support the Red Cross in this effort?
AP: “Before the American Red Cross and its partners formed the Measles Initiative in 2001, more than 750,000 children worldwide died from measles each year. While the global health partnership has made significant progress in the last decade, measles still kills an estimated 164,000 people annually.
For less than $1, a child can be vaccinated and the Measles Initiative can continue to drive that number down. With help from your friends, family, coworkers or classmates, anyone can easily vaccinate an entire village and put an end to this fight. Text PREVENT to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross. This simple gesture will protect 10 children for a lifetime. Visit measlesinitiative.org to learn more.”