For the past two years, World Moms Blog and many of our global contributors have been deeply engaged with and committed to the mission of  the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign.

In recognition of  World Immunization Week and in celebration of the official launch of the Shot@Life campaign a year ago today, World Moms Blog is proud to introduce you to global Champion, Courtney Diesel O’Donnell. 

Courtney-ODonenell2World Moms Blog: Where do you live and are you from there?

Courtney O’Donnell: I live in Berlin, Germany. I moved to Berlin a little over a year ago with my family. My husband is originally from Germany, but it’s my first time living here. Berlin is a fascinating city – full of history, remembrance and rebuilding.  Today, in addition to government and other industry there is also a thriving art culture here.
Are you a mom?
Yes, I am a mom of two boys, ages 4 and 2.
What did you do before becoming a mom? Do you still do that?
I have worked for many years in the communications field – for political candidates, non-profit groups, and also corporations.  I still work in this capacity as a consultant to various organizations.
How did you learn about Shot@Life?
I became aware of Shot@Life through social media and a friend who began working with the UN Foundation.
Why did you become a Shot@Life Champion?
In a previous role working for an international NGO (non-government organization), I traveled to Kenya and Tanzania. I spent time in many rural areas and visited health clinics where I saw children who were suffering from preventable illnesses such as dehydration. I met their mothers and fathers who wanted to give their children a chance to live healthy lives….isn’t this what we all want for our children?

For me, I am so fortunate that living a healthy life is simple and I have had access to pediatricians’ offices wherever I’ve lived, whether in Washington, DC, New York City or now Berlin – but for so many individuals this is an overwhelming challenge or even an impossibility. I left that experience feeling so connected to those parents. Becoming a Shot@Life Champion is one way that I can make sure their voices are heard.


What events or activities have you done over the past year to support the Shot@Life cause?

I attended the Shot@Life training and meeting in Washington, DC earlier this year – during which I spent time on Capitol Hill meeting with Congressional staffers about the importance of vaccines.  I have also written about the campaign and encouraged my friends, family members and network to join and learn more about the issue. For my birthday, I asked that my network contribute to the cause.


Are vaccines readily available in Germany? Are they automatically given to children during doctor visits or do you select which ones?

Yes, here in Germany I am fortunate to have access to vaccines as I did in the United States. They are automatically recommended based on age and other factors.
How do you feel about vaccines and theShot@Life mission?

I love the Shot@Life mission because it is serious and urgent but also accessible and easy to understand and embrace.  Immunizations make sense – scientifically, medically, economically – and morally.  Shot@Life combines the practical arguments and facts with human compassion, connectedness and action.  Everyone can be a part of this movement.
Please list a few important milestones in your children’s lives

motor skill development; the arrival of teeth; eating solid foods; laughter; riding a bike; moving from a crib to a “big boy bed”; making friends; learning empathy; kicking a soccer ball/fusbal ; learning a second language;  singing a song; falling in love with books; going to preschool…

I feel like almost everyday a milestone of some sort unfolds!


What is your favorite birthday tradition?Courtney2

In my mind, birthdays are about gratitude. To reach another year of life (whether my own, those of my loved ones, or others) is a true gift and something that should not be taken for granted.  So I think birthdays are a great time to reflect on the year past, and consider what might be ahead in the year to come…but also to give thanks.


What is your birthday wish for the Shot@Life Campaign?

My birthday wish for the Shot@Life Campaign is that this birthday inspires more attention, awareness, and action around the cause of immunizations.


What do you want every child to have a shot at?

Opportunity! The opportunity to live, to pursue their dreams and to reach their innate potential without fear or preventable barriers.

This blog post is part of the Shot@Life Birthday Bash.
The photographs used in this post are credited to Cortney Diesel O’Donnell, and she can also be found on her blog, The Sunny Side of the Road

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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