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Statesboro Kiwanis Club seeks to eliminate neonatal tetanus

The Kiwanis Club of Statesboro recently announced that it has approved the recommendation of its Board of Directors to be a model club in its efforts in raising funds for Project Eliminate. Project Eliminate is a fundraising project organized by Kiwanis International in conjunction with UNICEF to eradicate the disease of maternal neonatal tetanus from the world.

While this is not a disease that mothers and babies face in the United States and the developed world, it is quite prevalent in areas of the world that do not routinely use hygienic practices during labor and delivery. A newborn baby who contracts the tetanus virus will die a painful death in a matter of days.

However, the disease is highly preventable with a series of three shots given to the mother while she is expecting. The shots provide total immunity to both the mother and her baby and cost about a dollar for the series. Maternal neonatal tetanus has been eliminated from several countries, and its entire eradication is within reach.

A local Kiwanis club becomes a model club if it can raise $750 during the campaign for every member of the club. Recently, with the help of an anonymous donor, the Eliminate Campaign issued a challenge to every Kiwanis Club that if it pledged to become a model club by raising the money in five years, the campaign would match one-fifth of the remaining amount needed to become a model club.

"This is a win-win for both the Statesboro Kiwanis Club and the Eliminate Campaign," said Statesboro Kiwanis Club member Bede Mitchell, who is also a member of the Georgia District of Kiwanis Eliminate Project management team. "This helps to motivate our club to reach model club status and raises additional money to help eradicate this terrible disease."

According to Mitchell, the Statesboro Kiwanis Club has already raised almost $45,000 for Eliminate through individual contributions, club contributions, proceeds from the annual Kiwanis Rodeo, and fundraisers such as its sale of gift cards for The Clubhouse. To become a model club, the local Kiwanians will need to raise a total of about $110,000. The match will mean that the club will earn an additional $13,000 for Project Eliminate.

"Kiwanis of Statesboro is grateful to The Clubhouse for its sponsorship of a gift card sale throughout the month of February to benefit Project Eliminate," said Eliminate Project Division Coordinator Wendy Denton. "This allows us to sell cards with a $25 value for only $15, and they make a $5 contribution back to Eliminate for every card we sell."

"While we are fortunate in the United States to not have to worry about this horrible disease, we must keep in mind that other people in the world are not as lucky as we are," added Molly Sisson, co-chairwoman with Laura Wheaton of the Eliminate Committee of the Statesboro Kiwanis Club. "Our mission at Kiwanis is to help all of the children in the world, starting with those in our community and continuing to those we may never know. Our club has a long history of giving back to this community and beyond, and I am proud that we can help in this important global effort."

If you are interested in purchasing a Clubhouse gift card, contact any Kiwanis member or call (912) 682-7016. You can also support this effort by attending the Kiwanis Statesboro Rodeo that will take place on the Kiwanis Fairgrounds on April 17 and 18.

For a map of where maternal neonatal tetanus has been eliminated, visit:


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