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BG middle school students aid Kiwanis tetanus project PDF Print E-mail
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor   
Thursday, 24 October 2013 10:27
Bowling Green Middle School Builders Club members Morgan Watson (left) and Cassidy Hendricks (right) are seen with Trick or Treat for UNICEF boxes. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Halloween trick-or-treating is such fun that as kids grow older they often don't want to abandon the tradition.
This year, a select group of Bowling Green youth in middle school and above have a great excuse to go door-to-door in costume and at the same time make a huge difference in the lives of a very vulnerable group of infants.
Bowling Green Kiwanis Club's affiliated youth groups - particularly the junior high Builders Club - are planning to participate in a new Trick or Treat for UNICEF project to help combat tetanus in mothers and their newborn babies.
"Kiwanis International currently has an ambitious goal to 'eliminate' maternal and neonatal tetanus worldwide," said Bowling Green Kiwanis member Joan Callecod. "Our youth clubs in BG hope to participate" in the project co-sponsored by Kiwanis and UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.
"It's a vicious, vicious disease. If a baby gets it, you can't touch them or anything, it's so painful," noted Callecod.
Tetanus spreads throughout the baby's body within days of birth, causing muscle rigidity leading to locked jaw, arched spine, convulsions and difficult breathing. The slightest sound, light or touch triggers painful spasms. After a few days, the baby dies.
Ironically, neonatal tetanus is a completely preventable tragedy.
"$1.80 per mother protects one mother and her future children - throughout her child-bearing years; it's not just per pregnancy," said Callecod. "What is $1.80? That's less than a couple of coffee."
In addition to the Builders Club, Kiwanis in BG has three other active youth clubs including Key Club at the high school, Circle K at Bowling Green State University, and AKTION for Wood Lane consumers. Members of these groups, too, are invited to head out into Bowling Green streets to trick-or-treat.
"We just want the public to know that," said Callecod, and to be generous if they open their door on Halloween to older children or teens holding out the UNICEF boxes.
The overall goal is to raise $110 million for The Eliminate Project over five years.
Bowling Green's adult Kiwanians have already begun to raise funds. The local club takes up a collection monthly, "and several individual members have made substantial donations. The BG Kiwanis Club has contributed $4,273 to date, and our goal is $10,000," Callecod said.  "We feel we are on track to reach this goal."
Historically, this is the second worldwide health issue that Kiwanis has tackled. The first was elimination of iodine deficiency, a 1993-2001 project.
"IDD causes brain damage. Is the leading preventable cause of mental disability, in fact.
"We successfully raised close to $100 million" and the result was hailed as one of the greatest public health triumphs of the 20th century.
For more about the current project to wipe out neonatal tetanus, visit the Web site: www.TheElimineProject.org
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:38

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