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My commitment to The Eliminate Project



By Trent Cowles, Major Gift donor and Lead & Major Gift committee member

I became personally committed to The Eliminate Project after I met Dr. François Gasse, otherwise known as “Dr. Tetanus,” at the Kiwanis International convention in New Orleans. I heard his impressions of being around children dying from tetanus. He asked, “Have you ever had a muscle cramp?” That’s how he helped me understand what happens with tetanus: Every major muscle group cramps at the same time. That’s all babies with tetanus ever know.

My wife, Amy, and I now have our second child. He’s only a couple of months old. It’s hard enough when he has a cough.

Hearing Dr. Gasse’s experience made me more confident in my own giving. We can prevent a woman from passing on this disease to her newborns for less than US$2. Every baby and every mother can be spared that agony. Think about it. What can US$1,000 buy in America today? Would you rather buy a flat-screen TV or 555 lifesaving vaccines?

For me, getting involved with The Eliminate Project came down to a very simple flow of logic.

  • This is an agonizing, terrible, cruel and inhumane disease. Worst of all—those affected are innocent little babies. Who knows who those children could have become?
  • Maternal and neonatal tetanus is preventable. 
  • Prevention costs only US$1.80. How much do I spend at Starbucks every day? How many lives could I help save with that money instead? It’s a small sacrifice.

Maybe you’re a more practical person; someone who weighs the costs and benefits of your actions before you let your heartstrings get tugged into a cause. I studied economics and am a financial analyst. I took a hard look at what it costs to protect one family from heartbreak: less than US$2. It’s such a huge payoff for such a small amount. And it has a major impact on so many people because of the situation they’re in.

Read more about how Trent and his fellow members of the Downtown Indianapolis Kiwanis Club have united to support moms and babies through a US$200,000 commitment to The Eliminate Project.

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