Cedar Valley Kiwanis Clubs teamed up for a Color Dash 5K in Cedar Falls to raise money for "The Eliminate Project." It's a partnership between Kiwanis International and UNICEF to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
"Tetanus is a very deadly bacteria when it enters the skin. It's everywhere. It's in the dirt, the soil," said Dr. Ronald Flory.
Dr. Flory gained a passion for fighting maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) while serving at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in the 70s.
"I really gained a much great appreciation on what little medical opportunities third world nations have," said Flory.
After working at his family practice in Waterloo for 37 years, Dr. Flory recently retired. He's using his retirement to spread the word about MNT, which kills tens of thousands of babies around the world each year.
"Women are often in remote villages giving birth on dirt floors. The umbilical cord is cut with a nonsterile knife. The tetanus spores get in. Up to 25 percent of babies are dead within a month," said Dr. Flory.
Dr. Flory and other Kiwanis members are raising money to buy a series of three vaccines to give to pregnant women in 28 countries to protect the woman and the baby. The vaccines cost 60 cents each. The Color Dash in Cedar Falls raised more than $6700 to fight MNT.
Kiwanis members say Dr. Flory works very hard to raise awareness about MNT and how easy it is to help save lives.
"He's done fantastic, going to all the clubs and talking, spreading the word like crazy. He's a doctor. He knows what's going on with it. Fantastic working with him," said David Loy with the Rough Risers Kiwanis Club.
While many of 500 Color Dash participants may not have heard of MNT before the run, they're all part of helping Dr. Flory and Kiwanis International save lives.
You can still make a donation to MNT. Take donations to Loy and Associates at 2615 Rainbow Drive in Cedar Falls.
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