Inspiring You to Help Be the Change : #Blogust2015

I’m honored to be a part of Shot@Life’s Blogust 2015 – a month-long blog relay—including some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions who are coming together to share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world. 


“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world”. 

-Harriet Tubman

Does this quote inspire you like it inspires me?

On top of Uhuru Peak Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

On top of Uhuru Peak, Mount Kilimanjaro July 2015.

I have always been a dreamer. Growing up my father’s favorite motto was always carpe diem “Seize the day!” and whenever I was in doubt about what direction to follow in my life, I remembered his words of wisdom.

Just one month ago, I fulfilled a 15-year dream of summiting Mount Kilimanjaro with a multi-generational, international team, in honor of Solar Sister’s five-year anniversary of providing clean energy and women’s empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa. I had many bumps along the way such as a bad hip injury, a swollen leg, and weeks without my kids. Yet I persevered and achieved my goals of not only reaching the top but raising enough funds to train 8 new Solar Sister Entrepreneurs in Africa, all the while hoping that someday my children would understand why I do what I do.

The trip to Tanzania was one of many I’ve taken in the last ten years to play my part in promoting change and giving back to those around the world.  If I had one piece of advice I’d like to instill upon my children it is to dream big and go for it. Now more than other time in our lifetime, there are unimaginable opportunities  that allow pretty much anyone to change the world and make a difference. All you have to do is have a passion, lots of grit and never ever give up in chasing your dreams.

About four years after I had quietly started my blog, a door opened for me that has afforded me many life-changing experiences and opportunities to make a difference. I was invited to attend the inaugural United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Champion training where I learned about the power of vaccines to save a child’s life. It stunned me when I learned that every 20 seconds a child in the developing world dies from a vaccine-preventable death. Yet what amazed me more was the fact that it is something that can be changed.

I went home armed with knowledge and passion on how to advocate for global vaccines. I threw fundraising parties, I met with my member of Congress both here in Minnesota and on Capital Hill, and most importantly, I used my voice to educate my readers on the importance of vaccines and global health.

What I’ve realized throughout it all, is how simple it can be to give back and make a difference in the world. With Blogust, you can too. A comment or a share of this post via social media provides one vaccine to a child who needs it most. You will be part of the change and help a child fulfill their dreams and live to see their own firsts.

How it works:

Please comment or share this post via social media (Twitter, Facebook or Instagram) and one vaccine will be donated to a child in need around the world (up to 50,000). 

Need some inspiration in commenting?

  • What quote inspires you?
  • What are you dreams and aspirations for the future?
  • Even just saying “hi” is enough to provide one vaccine!

Why does this matter?

Although I’ve written dozens of posts about why global vaccines matter (if you want to read them all, click here), I’m leaving you with a few basic facts.

Every 20 seconds a child dies from a vaccine-preventable death. Yet we can change this tragic reality. We know that 1 in 5 children in the developing world do not have access to life-saving vaccines. Yet we have the tools and resources to prevent 1.5 million deaths each year – the equivalent to the number of children entering kindergarten in the US each year –  by providing vaccines. For the mere cost of a week’s worth of coffee – $20 – you can give a child a lifetime of immunity from a deadly disease and save a life. It is easy. Simple. And it saves lives.

Your voice, your time and your support can change a child’s life forever. 



  1. I love your photographs of children. Their eyes, their smiles, their presence on this planet take my breath away sometimes. It’s a great reminder of what is here already, and how little we are aware of it.

  2. Nicole, your post is beautiful. Congratulations on scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro and raising funds and awareness for women. Thank you for ALL your support for Blogust!!!

  3. I also climbed Kilimanjaro (last year), so can completely understand how hard it was – what a great achievement though! I have written a blog post about my experience too 🙂

      • You are so right! This post is beautiful. I love your sentiment. I want to get involved in as much humanitarian work as I can during my life – in my way – and I love you how you’ve done things your way. Keep sharing your heart. J x.

      • I will. I’m off to Ghana in November to work in an orphanage for a month. I’ve volunteered in India, too. Wildlife conservation. Slightly different. But, still, this is the beginning of this for me. Spreading my wings. People like you help give me strength to fly.

      • Wonderful! I can’t wait to follow along on that trip. Very kind words so thank you. I need inspiration too! My kids are 8 and 10 so little by little I do what I can to volunteer and help out. I’m hoping to do a ton more once they are older and hopefully bring them too! We need more global citizens!

      • Do it! Never stop. You are wonderful and what you are doing will spread only more and more beauty, and light. I’m sure your kids will be just as incredible as you are. What an exciting mum you must be!

      • Thanks for the encouragement! Not sure where I’m off to next but I’m sure there will be a place that calls me! I found India the hardest place I’ve ever been. It was really hard. Haiti surprised me and was nothing like I imagined. Ethiopia is amazing to work in and Africa as a whole are huge interests! Stay tuned.

  4. Julie Marsh

    That summit photo, wow! So cool. Happy to be part of Blogust with you, and excited to learn more about Solar Sisters too.

    • Thanks Julie! Yes the trip was amazing as is Shot@life! So much we can do and Solar Sister is amazing! I have written a few posts on them but more coming soon! 🙂

    • Oh thank you Alison! we are up to over 40,000 shares and likes since Blogust started August 1st, so think of all those kids who will get a vaccine and a shot at life! AMAZING!

  5. What a shocking statistic! Yet this is an absolutely wonderful (and easy) way to be a part of change!
    You achieved one of your dreams by climbing Kilamanjaro (congratulations!); I achieved one of my dreams by helping America’s underserved girls get passports & travel internationally for the first time; and I pray that the children who benefit from these vaccines live to realize their dreams as well.
    Great work, Nicole! #letsdothis

  6. Linda B

    So inspiring! Thanks for all you do … and for supporting the SHOT@LIFE global childhood vaccination campaign!

  7. Serena

    What an incredible post (and such amazing pictures). Thanks for all you’re doing to support #Blogust!

  8. Well, it took me all day to get to this, but of course there is no way I’m NOT commenting on it! From one hiker and global volunteer to another, congratulations on (many) a job well done! Aren’t you and the world lucky you are able to combine your passions this way?

  9. eliz frank

    Every effort that makes a difference in the life of a child is worth it. I’ve watched you give do much of yourself to a variety of causes and it warms my heat to visit and support you. Keep up the great work!

    • Oh thank you so much Elizabeth! You are an amazing inspiration! Are you attending the Social Good Summit this year? I will be there and would love to see you! 😀

  10. GFWC Deb

    Thanks for supporting Blogust. It’s wonderful to see all the comments knowing what a difference they’ll make!

  11. Nicole HB

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
    You are doing great work, my friend!

  12. Beth Gold

    Having grown up in the Congo (missionary family) and having had polio as a baby…this cause is near and dear to my heart!! Thanks for your voice. I loved your pictures. You captured the essence of the people beautifully. Thanks.

  13. Cheryl

    i have been on one mission trip and it was such a great experience, someday I hope to repear it.

  14. What a gorgeous post. Breathtaking pictures and a beautiful experience. So glad you got to share it w. so many via Blogust, and glad I’m among the many moved by it.

  15. Thanks for putting this cause on my radar. I just shared your blog via Twitter in an effort to support such a noteworthy and life-changing effort for humanity. The photographs really drove it home for me seeing the faces behind the need.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post! It amazes me how much people take for granted and the simple gift of a vaccine can save a life in many parts of the world. I always like to include photos of some of the amazing people I’ve met while traveling. Thank you so much for sharing, caring and commenting!

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