• A very precious 5th birthday!

    Posted by Eliza

    10 November, 2011

    I’d been hearing about this birthday party for weeks – my little friend Lol Lol’s bunny rabbit themed 5th birthday. Lol had been looking forward to this day since her party guests left her 4th birthday party and every time she told me about it, she beamed.

    A bunny rabbit invitation had been sent out, designed by Lol herself and her clever mum had baked the Women’s Day bunny rabbit birthday cake that Lol had chosen. A no-doubt nervous little bunny was even invited to the party, to be ‘gently’ patted and cuddled by Lol’s party guests.

    Yesterday Micah Challenge shared video on their Facebook page about a deadly disease that claims the lives of more children under five than AIDS, measles and malaria combined:

    As I watched the horrifying statistics flash across the screen, Lol lol came to mind and I felt a sting. A few years ago, my little friend Lol was really sick. The normally loud and energetic Lol had become subdued. She spent hours on the couch, too tired to go outside or play. After a few days of thinking she had the flu, Lol’s parents took her to the hospital where the doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia.

    - Pneumonia is the worlds biggest killer of children under 5
    - Every 20 seconds a child under 5 dies from the disease
    - 98% of all deaths attributed to pneumonia are in developing countries.

    At the hospital, Lol was given all the medical attention that she needed, and her parents were told how to care for her once she was home – lots of rest and fluids. Lol Lol made a full recovery and today, her time in the hospital is the subject of one of her favourite stories to tell, how she made all the ‘hospital keepers’ laugh with her funny jokes.

    Had precious Lol been born in a developing country, it is unlikely that she would have survived the disease. Had she been born a developing country she may not have been breastfed for the first 6 months of her life, she may not have been educated about hand washing, she may not have had access to clean water or appropriate vaccines and antibiotics – all things that can help protect children from help treat children with pneumonia.

    1.4 million children under the age of five years die from pneumonia every year. 1.4 little children, just like Lol, with unique personalities, lots of energy and affection, are dying, from a disease that we can easily prevent and treat.

    This Saturday 12 November is World Pneumonia Day; perhaps you could consider donating to one of the Micah Challenge endorsing agencies who provide vital health programs. You could also learn more about the GAVI Alliance who are providing necessary vaccines and immunizations to children around the world. Perhaps you could write a letter to your MP, comparing the chance of survival of a child with pneumonia in Australia and child in a developing country. And as you finish reading this, you should definitely pray for children around the world and for those that are caring for them.

    Lol Lol has made it to age 5. Next year she will start big school and maybe even ballet lessons; she will continue going to swimming lessons and Sunday school. She will look forward to her 6th birthday, and begin to plan what cake she would like and which friends she will invite to her party. I’ve had the joy of watching Lol grow up healthy, strong and cheeky.  A childhood is something to celebrate. Let’s remember that on World Pneumonia Day.

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    Eliza Whalley is the 2011 Micah Challenge Political Engagement Intern.