Fighting Child Mortality with the Kindness of Others

Two years ago in California, Nikki Miller's boys, Carson and Chase, were both diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Thousands of miles away, Phedia, a 4 year-old in Haiti, was fighting for oxygen due to the congenital heart disease she had faced since birth. What do the two have in common? Their health care was paid for through the kindness of others.

Every mother hopes to give birth to a healthy child, but the reality is that today 43 children of every 1,000 live births will die before their fifth birthday and every 4.5 minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the US alone. Childhood health challenges can be a huge hardship for families who weren't prepared financially or emotionally for such devastating news, but for the first time ever, the world can easily come together to help these children get the treatments they need.

Many times, these children have a strong chance of survival and the opportunity to live long, healthy lives; however, the medical treatments required can be very expensive and many families cannot afford them. In these situations, families can now turn to fundraising websites and the kindness of others to help give their kids a fighting chance.

Carson and Chase's treatments for cerebral palsy

Nikki Miller gave birth to two boys, Carson and Chase, just one year apart. Although both pregnancies and deliveries were normal, both Carson and Chase were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a neuromuscular disorder that affects the ability to use their muscles and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral palsy is a disorder that will affect both of these young boys' lives forever, but thanks to advances in medicine, there are physical, occupational and speech therapies available to help them live relatively normal lives.

In addition to these weekly therapies, Carson and Chase can benefit greatly from other experimental sessions that will allow them to have the freedom and independence that all children deserve. These treatments and therapies are not fully covered by insurance, yet they can be monumentally helpful in bringing a sense of normalcy to these boys' lives. In 3 months, 153 people have donated to the Miller boys' cause on Indiegogo Life, raising over $18,000 to help Carson and Chase get the treatments they need. To empower anyone looking to raise funds related to medical expenses, Indiegogo Life recently launched a resource page with case studies and an educational webinar at igg.me/medical.

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Phedia's surgery to fix a congenital heart disease

As her doctor at the Haiti Cardiac Alliance shares, "Phedia is a sweet but very shy girl who likes to spend time with her mother and older sister." She was born with tetralogy of fallot, a congenital heart disease, which prevents her body from getting the oxygen she needs. The disease had been causing Phedia to pass out from lack of air, and her mother was getting very worried about her health.

Thankfully, through the donations of 22 strangers to her Watsi page, Phedia was able to receive the $1,500 surgery required to correct her condition and enable her to live a normal life. As her mother shared after the surgery, "I can already see that Phedia is stronger, and has more energy and health than before the surgery!" To meet more patients and learn more about how Watsi works, visit watsi.org.

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The United Nations identified reducing child mortality as a top priority in the Millennium Development Goals created in 2000, setting a goal to reduce childhood mortality by 2015 by two-thirds from 1990 levels. Rates have improved greatly since then, and today children dying before their fifth birthday has dropped by more than half from 1990 levels. Yet as the Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 states:

every minute around the world, 11 children die before celebrating their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes. More work is needed to improve child survival rates...With millions of women and children still at risk of dying of preventable causes, maternal, newborn and child survival must remain at the heart of the post-2015 global development agenda.

We hope that fundraising on platforms like Watsi and Indiegogo Life plays a part in helping rates to hit and exceed UN goals, giving children worldwide real chances to survive and thrive.