First and foremost I am grateful for the people I work with. I have met a number of amazing people this year, far more than I could list in one short blog. You continue to inspire me, motivate me, and bring joy into each and every day. Thank you! A special thanks to my good friend, Don Walsh, who selflessly dedicated his personal milestone of 120 consecutive months swimming in the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness for Childhood Drowning Prevention Month. Don is typical of the selfless heroism dedicated to ending childhood drowning that I find among all of you. I work with THE coolest people ever!
Second, I am grateful for the opportunity to work on a global scale. I presented Jabari at the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Vietnam in May and Dr. Stathis Avramidis was kind enough to present Jabari on my behalf at The Lifesaving Foundation conference in Ireland in September. Through both conferences and through my social media connections I have met amazing people around the world. One of the highlights was our attempt to convince Oprah to dedicate her final show to ending childhood drowning. We weren’t successful in that, but I was blown away at our success in bonding together for one common cause. Everyone from swim instructors and parents to Navy SEALS and lifeguards, in countries from Argentina to New Zealand bombarded Oprah with one message – we need to raise awareness that childhood drowning is an epidemic. I look forward to seeing that power activated again in 2012, because it is only by thinking and connecting globally that we will create lasting change.
Third, I am grateful for the power of technology to facilitate change. Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Skype, LinkedIn, ScribD, YouTube. We have seen the power of social media demonstrated in a myriad of ways this year. Technology has made it possible for me to connect with people all over the world, to have real conversations, share ideas, and form lasting friendships. I published several papers on ScribD, including ‘A Plan to End Childhood Drowning’, to an overwhelming response. Although traditional journals have their place, only technology allows us to reach such a wide and varied audience so quickly. We must continue to leverage that power.
Finally, I am grateful to my own kids who provide me with the greatest inspiration ever. They have taught me that the capacity to love is truly infinite.
Looking forward to 2012, my resolution is to raise global awareness about childhood drowning to a higher level. My goal is have drowning cited in the United Nation’s Millennium Goal #4 – Reduce Childhood Mortality. Others have begun the work, I pledge to support that work and dedicate my resources to achieving this goal. Will you join me?