by Mary Rupert
As Mother’s Day approaches, one group in Wyandotte County is doing its part in a project that could help mothers and their children worldwide.
Kiwanis International is trying to eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus worldwide, and members of Kiwanis in Wyandotte County are doing their part in the effort.
While the tetanus threat has been virtually eliminated in the United States, it still remains a problem in some third-world countries, said David Hurrelbrink, a local businessman who is Kiwanis governor of the Kansas district, and a member of the Kansas City, Kan., West Kiwanis Club.
“We go to the doctor when we step on a rusty nail and get a tetanus shot, and that takes care of it,” Hurrelbrink said. But that same shot is not available in some of the countries of the world, he said.
Some children in other nations are born in unsanitary conditions, and the baby may contract tetanus from the surroundings, he said. “Tetanus is a pretty awful way to die,” he said. A child who contracts tetanus can’t stand touch, light or sound, and often dies within two weeks, he added.
A few years ago, Kiwanis took on the tetanus project, in association with UNICEF, he said. Kiwanis is supplying the funding for the project, while UNICEF is delivering the services, he added.
“For $1.80, we can save a mother and unborn child with a series of shots,” he said. “It’s been very successful.”
Already, the number of countries where tetanus shots are not available has been reduced from 30 to 22, he said.
“Our goal is to raise $110 million worldwide,” Hurrelbrink said. “The last figures I heard, we were at $80 million out of $110 million. Hopefully we can get it done this year and complete that.”
Some large donations have come from Taiwan, which donated $7 million, he said, and the Canadian government did a match of a donation of about $2 million from Kiwanis clubs there. Individuals and local clubs are doing their part as well, he said.
For this Eliminate Tetanus program, both the downtown KCK and the KCK West Kiwanis clubs have pledged to be model clubs, collecting $750 per member over a five-year program, he said.
The KCK West Kiwanis Club will hold a fundraiser for this Eliminate Tetanus project from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Culvers restaurant in Village West, he said. Members of the public may attend to help this fundraiser.
Later this fall, the KCK West Kiwanis Club is planning to sponsor a Duck Derby, a race featuring rubber ducks, at Schlitterbahn water park on Labor Day weekend, also as a fundraiser for the Eliminate Tetanus project, he said. That fundraiser is being held in cooperation with Young Women on the Move, he added.
Other Kiwanis projects
Kiwanis also sponsors other programs that benefit children. On May 16, the KCK West chapter has a bike rodeo planned at Schlitterbahn, a popular event that gives away from 200 to 300 bike helmets every year and emphasizes bike safety.
The Kiwanis District also is participating in raising funds for the Rock Springs 4-H Camp, Hurrelbrink said. Kiwanis will be making a donation to remodel a large meeting area at the camp, that needs to be brought up to ADA standards, he said.
The Kiwanis club also has worked with efforts to help children at Kaw Valley Center, Wyandot Center PACES, and Southwest Boulevard Clinic, he added.
As part of his work as Kiwanis governor of Kansas, Hurrelbrink just returned from Topeka, where he received a proclamation from Gov. Sam Brownback about the 100th anniversary of Kiwanis, to be celebrated on May 20.
Hurrelbrink , the co-owner of August Resources, was raised on a farm in Wyandotte County, attended Washington High School, Kansas City Kansas Community College and received a degree in agriculture from Kansas State University. Hurrelbrink Road in Wyandotte County is named after his family, and came about because it happened to be where a section corner lined up with his grandparents’ property on a map.
Hurrelbrink has been a member of the Kiwanis Club since about 1992, when the assistant pastor at his church asked him to join. He visited the downtown KCK Kiwanis chapter, which met for a noon luncheon, and the KCK West club, which was a morning meeting that worked better with his schedule.
“It felt like it was the right thing to do to help kids out,” he said about his decision to join the club about 23 years ago.
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