Campaign: Global Moms Relay

From Polio Patient to IronMan Triathlete: Inspiring Stories from Moms+SocialGood


Image: UN Foundation

By Meghan Werft

Mindy Dentler was abandoned as a child in India after contracting polio. Few people in her early life expected her to survive, let alone be the serious athlete she is today. And yet, at 35, she did the Iron Man triathlon and also competed in the New York City marathon with a hand cycle.

But the biggest moment in her life, says Dentler, came after having a daughter of own. She was able to give her daughter something no one gave her as a child: a polio vaccination.

“I asked the doctor if I could document this moment,” she said onstage at Moms+SocialGood, a day-long conversation on the health needs of mothers and families in New York City on Thursday.

Moms+SocialGood kicked off the fifth-annual Global Moms Relay, a digital campaign where every social action taken is matched with a $1 donation to one of five health organizations. The campaign is supported by Johnson & Johnson and the UN Foundation.

“Health is at the beginning of everything we do,” said Michael Sneed, Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs and Chief Communication Officer, setting the tone of the event.

While the most powerful stories of the day came from strong survivors, like Dentler, voices of celebrity activists like Laura Dern, Zoe Saldana, Rachel Zoe, and NBA star Tyson Chandler amplified their call for a healthier future for the world’s mothers and children.


Image: UN Foundation

Panel discussions during the day inherently touched on every global citizen issue from the ongoing famine in East Africa to menstruation, infant mortality, and vaccination with a call to action on each.

“I don’t know how you can see what we’re all seeing every day and not get involved,” said Rachel Zoe.

In each story and panel discussion at the event, hard topics were covered but solutions and hope for a better future was just as present as the suffering advocates had gone through.

“My children have a mother who was once an HIV victim. But now I can strongly say I am a survivor,” said Irene Nkosi who was born HIV positive, ostracized by her community, raped, abused.

Years later, Nkosi met her husband, also HIV positive, and they had a daughter who was born without HIV. Today she is a mentor for others diagnosed with HIV.

Dentler and Nkosi’s stories are extraordinary. But with the tools of taking action and campaigns like Global Moms Relay, everybody can help create a future where every person faced with health or gender challenges has a better ending to their story.

Global Moms Relay which runs between May 4 and June 16.


Image: UN Foundation

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