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Join the Relay. Unlock the Potential.

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One of my favorite Olympic events is the 4×100 relay race. Each individual runner owes tremendous responsibility to her team. While one runner’s exceptional performance can catapult a team from last place into first, the relay is still a team effort. Individuals must compete not for their own success, but for the greater good. They must completely trust that when it’s their time to hand off or accept the baton, their teammate will be there without fail.

The relay is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

As parents, we’re in a sort of relay race, too – one that lasts years, and requires lots of teammates along the way. Family, friends, physicians, teachers, coaches, and others all run their individual legs in this race to raise our children. We have to trust that those people will be there for us and for our kids.

Some moms, both globally and here in the United States, don’t have an army of teammates to help them. They’re running their race alone. Consider some of these heartbreaking statistics:

  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide.
  • For millions of moms living in poverty, access to critical health information is a matter of life and death.
  • Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires – the way 3 billion people are fed every year – causes 4 million premature deaths each year, particularly women and children.

But through the Global Mom Relay, we can step up and serve as teammates for these women, and pass the baton to other moms who are anxious to help share ideas and inspire change.

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Global Mom Relay is a 8-week, first-of-its-kind campaign sponsored by the U.N. Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BabyCenter, and The Huffington Post.

The relay will feature today’s leading global and local voices discussing the importance of strengthening the health of mothers and children around the world. Each day, there will be a new story, photo, interview or video highlighting an aspect of motherhood ranging from inspirational moms to important causes or issues, with the author of that day’s story “passing the baton” to the next relay participant.

That’s where you can get involved.

Every time a person shares a Global Mom Relay post or story, or donates $5 or more as part of the relay, a $5 donation will be made by Johnson & Johnson and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to one of four initiatives that are helping women and children lead better lives: Girl Up, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) and Shot @ Life.

Johnson & Johnson and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate up to $8,000 per day for 60 days with a maximum donation of $500,000. Think of all the good that will do for women and children around the world.

What I really love about the Global Mom Relay is that you can help others simply by doing the things you’re probably doing anyway: reading the news and sharing the stories that resonate with you.

The Relay kicked off on Friday, March 8, and will run until Mother’s Day. There’s still plenty of time to get involved and make a difference.

How can you get started?

Head over to the Global Mom Relay page, where you’ll find today’s relay post. Look through the last few days of stories as well. Share the ones that speak to you and pass that baton.

You can also take a look at this video by the UN Foundation about Global Mom Relay:

We’ll be providing Global Mom Relay updates here on the blog every couple of weeks. We’ll bring you some of the best posts from the Global Motherhood page and tell you about other great ways, like regular Twitter chats, to stay plugged into the relay. You can also follow the Twitter action at #GlobalMom. We each have within us the capability to help mothers and children around the globe race to their finish lines healthy and happy. We hope you’ll join us in this historic and powerful relay!

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