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The week we returned from our beach vacation in Florida, I took my 5 year-old to the doctor for a cough. The cough started while we were in Florida and seemed to get worse during our vacation. Seasonal allergies bother her often so a little cough isn’t unusual for her, but this one was different.
We were tired and still a bit out of sorts on that Tuesday morning, as we’d just returned home Sunday night after being on the road for 12 hours, but we got it together and made the 20 minute drive to the pediatrician.
The office wasn’t very busy when we arrived (on time – yay!), so while the girls found a place to sit in the waiting area I took care of business at the front desk. Verifying that my insurance info hadn’t changed and paying our copay was easy and painless.
Within ten minutes we were called back to the exam room and the doctor asked me some questions, listened to my daughter breathe, and made the diagnosis: bronchitis. She prescribed five days of antibiotics and off we went to pick up the prescription at the Walgreens we pass every time we leave our house.
She took the antibiotics and her cough started to improve almost immediately. She recovered with no problems.
I apologize that there’s no exciting twist for your reading pleasure, but I’m so happy that story was exceedingly boring. My strong, healthy child had absolutely no complications with her bronchitis, nor did I as the parent have any complications with getting her a diagnosis or medicine. She is well nourished which puts her in a great position to recover from illnesses when they occur. And so my story has a boring ending.
But many families, even here in the US, have a different ending to a story like ours.
In rural areas, like where I grew up in Arkansas, poverty affects many children’s opportunities for health and wellness — especially the youngest children. In 2013, more than 1 in 3 children under age 6 in Arkansas were poor according to the Children’s Defense Fund. And nearly half of those poor children were considered “extremely poor”.
I know that when I was growing up in small-town Arkansas, we had to drive 30 miles to go a big grocery store with fresh produce and reasonable prices. And we could only do that once, maybe twice, a month. And when I had cancer, we had to drive two hours to get to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. And though that was 25 years ago, there are many places in the US where this is still a reality.
I am so grateful that is not the reality for my children. Within ten minutes of my house, I have at least four different grocery stores at which I can shop. All have fresh produce at reasonable prices. It’s easy for me to make sure my girls have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies.
And when they don’t, it’s easy for me to buy a multivitamin to give them to supplement when their diet is lacking — Walgreens is literally two minutes from my house. We stopped in Walgreens last week and I picked up Centrum Vitamins, for the girls and for my husband and me.
For every Centrum Vitamin purchase at Walgreens, they will donate 1% of the proceeds to Vitamin Angels. Vitamin Angels is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide at-risk mothers and children life-saving vitamins and minerals. (And if you’re a Balance Rewards shopper, when you spend $30 or more on eligible Centrum products you’ll receive 10,000 Balance Rewards points.)
In 2014, Vitamin Angels reached 40 million children in 45 countries and are distributing 300 million vitamins in 2015. You can help them reach their goal of bringing 100 million mothers and children the essential nutrients and vitamins many of us take for granted.
I hope that I never have a more interesting health-related story about my children than our bronchitis “adventure”. Just in case we do though, I am thankful to be in a position to keep my children well nourished so they are better prepared to recover from anything that might come up. To express my thankfulness, I donate to Arkansas Children’s Hospital every year and even raised over $1000 for them to celebrate my 40th birthday. I also take advantage of opportunities to support other causes that support health and wellness in expecting mothers and young children, like purchasing vitamins to benefit Vitamin Angels.
Do you have experience with Vitamin Angels? Or have you received support from a similar organization? I’d love to hear how it made a difference for you — or how you made a difference for someone else.