May 06, 2015
By: Warren Lancaster, Senior Vice President, Programs
When I read about athletes who achieve gold, so much seems to be about envisioning crossing the finish line. Preparation, training, and knowing the field are essential, but without the vision, it won’t be gold. Being with people with that vision is inspiring.
I have just spent a week with people with a vision for gold at meetings of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC) in Tunis, Tunisia. And when the gold is a milestone of worldwide impact – like ending blinding trachoma as we know it – it is nourishment for the soul. It’s something to be cherished, something I can tell my granddaughters about.
Trachoma is a bacterial infection that has been known since 8,000 BCE. It affects both northern and southern hemispheres but is now only a disease of poverty. Many people are not familiar with trachoma because it no longer affects their families or communities. Perhaps it is enough just to know that 100 million people are at risk for trachoma worldwide and if left untreated results in blindness. However, it is entirely preventable and treatable.
There is a movement of people and organizations of whom the END Fund is a part, who are committed to seeing the end of trachoma. This last week we have been planning, challenging, and committing to cross the finish line on time. We are going for gold, failing to end the scourge of trachoma is not an option, failing to reach this goal by 2020 for us is second place and not good enough.
This gold is worthy of investment like few others. Just imagine being with us in 2020 celebrating this gold. The gold of people – especially women – saved from blindness, enhanced productivity of communities no longer affected by trachoma. As I write I envision just 5 years from now telling my granddaughters we got gold. How will you join us in going for gold?