“Princely” award for Safe Kids
It’s not every day that I open an email personally inviting me to Kensington Palace. As I read the words on my blackberry that Saturday in late March, I had a moment not unlike Charlie when he found the golden ticket in his bar of chocolate in the 1971 classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The email confirmed what I had been hoping for weeks, ever since I submitted our application for consideration. His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent was presenting FedEx and Safe Kids Worldwide his International Road Safety Award for the Walk This Way International Program in Pedestrian Safety. Way to go, FedEx and Safe Kids!
Before I became involved with road safety causes at FedEx, I didn’t think much about road safety challenges. If you had asked me to list crises of worldwide magnitude, the ones that would probably have come to mind are HIV/AIDS, heart disease and cancer. And despite being personally affected by a death due to an automobile accident in my family, road traffic fatalities would not have made my list. Nor did I have any perspective on how dire the situation was becoming in developing countries.
Today, I know better. According to the WHO, nearly 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roadways each year. Road traffic fatalities are predicted to rise to the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. To raise awareness of this crisis and to reverse the trend, the United Nations General Assembly has declared a Decade of Action for Road Safety, launching on May 11, 2011.
For the past 11 years, FedEx has been the corporate funder for the Safe Kids Walk This Way program. As the program advisor for safety philanthropy at FedEx, I have had the privilege to see this relationship bloom over the years, starting from a single-day event in three cities in the United States to a year-round worldwide program in 250 cities in nine countries. And, while receiving the award is a wonderful validation that FedEx is doing good and important work with Safe Kids, it certainly doesn’t give us permission to rest on our laurels. Indeed, the time for further action is now.
You’ll see more blogs and information in the upcoming months as we work together to address this pressing worldwide issue.