I have already changed the world

Rachel Fox, a triage nurse, mom and ONE Congressional District leader, talks about why she decided to lift up her voice for the world’s poorest people.

MAC picture

I remind my kids often that I changed the world the day I gave birth to them. Not only did it change who I was as a person, but it also awakened in me a desire to make the world a better place. Quickly, my ambition to pursue a master’s degree in nursing to become a nurse anthropologist faded, and by the time my third child was born, I had created a way for me to stay at home.

I became an after-hours telephone triage nurse for a group of pediatricians and we learned quickly how to live simply on less. For me, this never seemed to be too much of a hardship because throughout my life, I had always remained conscious of those living in extreme poverty. I knew that somewhere in the world a mom like me was sleeping on a dirt floor with her baby.

My nights became consumed with answering calls to talk worried moms through their babies’ issues such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea. At the end of the call, these moms could rest assured their babies would bounce back in a day or so with fluid replacement or other simple and readily available products. However, for some moms in sub-Saharan Africa, these common health issues would lead them to see their babies die. I couldn’t help but think, how could I know this was happening and not do anything about it?

HIV-free son in Kenya
Thanks to modern medicine, this HIV-positive mom and dad in Kenya were able to have a healthy, HIV-free baby boy.
It is often frustrating to be a supporter of a non-profit; every organization depends on money to do the great work that they do, and that is something I do not have much of. But in 2004, I read an article about ONE and as soon as I read, “We’re not asking for your money, we’re just asking for your voice,” I knew that this was the organization for me. Anyone who knows me can tell you I have an abundance of voice!

I now use my voice as a volunteer ONE Congressional District leader in North Carolina. Not only do I inspire others in the community to join the conversation, but my three kids are involved in every ONE event I organize. Whether it is a ONE volunteer day at The Full Belly Project right here in Wilmington, a screening of “The Lazarus Effect,” or meeting a member of Congress, my kids are excited to be there and they know the facts as well as I do.

Rachel Fox's kids
My kids
They can tell you that more kids die from diarrhea and pneumonia than from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. They know that there are two new vaccines available for these illnesses, and by supporting GAVI, we can save 4 million children’s lives by 2015. They know that their mom is out everyday talking to anyone who will listen, using her voice on behalf of the world’s poorest –- and for this they are proud of me!

We all have the ability to change the world. Moms can just do it in multiples. Use your voice, engage your kids, sign the petition and join the conversation.

Follow Rachel Fox on Twitter, @rachelonefox