L to R: Gwen Zwanziger - Flu Prevention Advocate, Amber McCarthy- Founder, Flu Moms Facebook Group, Dr. Barbara Rath - Co-founder & Chair, Vienna Vaccine safety Initiative, Janet Tobias - Producer & Director, Unseen Enemy

L to R: Gwen Zwanziger – Flu Prevention Advocate, Amber McCarthy- Founder, Flu Moms Facebook Group, Dr. Barbara Rath – Co-founder & Chair, Vienna Vaccine safety Initiative, Janet Tobias – Producer & Director, Unseen Enemy

When you’ve gone to a few Summits like I have, you start to wonder if you’ll be as inspired as you were previously. This past Moms+SocialGood Summit on May 4th definitely proved that out.

Going on their 5th year, Moms+SocialGood Summit continues to raise awareness about issues that affect so many, from poverty to maternal mental health. The speakers range from health professionals, celebrities and moms like me who attend to speak about topics that matter to them.

Every year, Global Moms Challenge asks a question of their speakers for Moms+SocialGood and this year’s is: “What do you wish were true for every family, everywhere?”

Of the numerous speakers that day, one made quite an impact on me. A conversation centring on the theme of having “A Future Where Unseen Enemies Are Defeated” addressed Gwen Zwanziger’s story of her daughter tragically passing away from flu complications in 2014. Shannon, Zwanziger’s 17-year-old daughter came home one day complaining of not feeling well and informed her mother that someone from her school had the flu. She didn’t seem to be sick so Zwanziger advised her daughter to rest. By the next day, Shannon developed a high fever, prompting Zwanziger to take Shannon to their doctor. After being seen and determining that it was the flu, she was advised to bring her daughter home and to give Shannon lots of fluids. Thinking that it was just the flu, Zwanziger believed that it would “just run its course”. But a week later, Shannon became worse and after being hospitalized, died of flu complications. Her story made it even more tragic because her daughter’s demise could have been prevented by doing one thing: getting a flu vaccine. As easy as that may sound, it doesn’t take away the heartbreaking fact that one decision changed Zwanziger’s life forever. Zwanziger’s commitment to raising awareness on the importance of the flu vaccine through her involvement in the documentary film, “Unseen Enemy” by Janet Tobias, is crucial because lives are lost unnecessarily every year to this virus and from other infectious diseases like Zika and Ebola globally.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) recommends that every person, 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine every year. This season’s flu vaccine against the Influenza A(H3N2) virus has been 48% effective. While the type of influenza virus varies each year, it shouldn’t hinder any person from being vaccinated, unless one is considered to be at high risk for influenza complications, like adults older than 65, as well as persons who have asthma, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, to name a few.

As a mom, I made sure that my daughter was up to date with her vaccines every year, and while I knew a few moms who didn’t believe their child should be vaccinated for their own reasons, it didn’t dissuade me from protecting my child and our family from infectious diseases. Vaccines ensure that every person is provided with the means to fight for their health and well-being, and at the end of the day, that’s what every Mother wants. That said, I never considered the Flu vaccine to be important. While it’s not 100% effective, this story has made me reconsider whether or not I and my family should be vaccinated yearly.

While Moms+SocialGood Summit was a day filled with advocacy and initiatives to solve today’s global problems, and every speaker responding to the question, “What do you wish were true for every family, everywhere?”, my takeaway is this:

I wish for a future where health care and education are accessible to every person, in order to fully reach their potential and be a responsible, global citizen that others can look up to and emulate.

Our world is imperfect, but as citizens, we can aspire to be more than what we are and inspire others to build a lasting global community.

So we ask our readers this – “What do you wish were true for every family, everywhere?

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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