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Maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) kills 60,000 babies every year, according to the website of The Eliminate Project, an initiative spearheaded by Kiwanis International and UNICEF to stamp out the lethal disease, especially in developing countries.
The Los Alamos High School Key Club organizes an annual event — which will be a rummage sale this year — to raise money for the project.
Key Club International is an organization not only committed to community service, but also to ameliorating global issues; with its extensive network of members around the world, the club places a certain emphasis on supporting The Eliminate Project.
“I think UNICEF and Kiwanis picking it up as a ‘world vision,’ so to speak, has been very ambitious …. Anything that any of the key Clubs around the country can do can help raise money for that,” said Kathleen Boerigter, adult supervisor of LAHS Key Club.
According to the project’s website, MNT can cause convulsions and sensitivity to light and touch in newborns.
“When the baby is born, it can die within a few weeks. The disease is something that can be prevented really easily with a vaccine,” said Kristen Haertling, a senior at LAHS and Key Club president.
In fact, the series of three immunizations that can protect mothers from MNT only cost less than $5.
Key Club’s rummage sale will be from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 8 at LAHS Speech Theater. Key Club students will be managing the event and selling items such as clothes and toys. All of the profits will be donated to The Eliminate Project, and remaining items will be given to the thrift store, Casa Mesita.
“We are asking for donations of any clothes or old toys that you might otherwise give to a thrift shop,” Haertling said.
Donations may be dropped off with the assistant at the LAHS front office or at Boerigter’s home, 719 Meadow Lane in White Rock. Alternatively, donations that are too difficult to transport may be picked up from people who live in White Rock.
Anyone is also welcome to come shop at the rummage sale, which will be held at the same time as a wrestling tournament in the LAHS gym nearby. If parking space by Sullivan Field is limited, interested shoppers may park in the lot that is behind the gym and closest to E-Wing.
“I think that it’s incredibly important for us to think outside of our own personal community. We do a lot for our community … but it’s really good for our club to look beyond the walls of our town and school and think about what we can do for the world,” said Boerigter.
For more information about The Eliminate Project, please visit the website, sites.kiwanis.org/Kiwanis/en/theELIMINATEproject/home.aspx. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or requests for drop off at Boerigter’s home, or pickup in White Rock.