Why I am sharing my story as a polio survivor

Kerry Jacobson

Kerry Jacobson

By Kerry Jacobson

I feel more urgently than ever the need to share how polio impacted my life. In 1952, I contracted bulbar-polio, the rarest and most dangerous of the strains of the polio virus. I had just turned 7. I caught the virus from a neighborhood friend of my older sister who had been playing at our house and then was admitted to the hospital with polio.

A week later, I was in our family doctor’s office to hear the diagnosis: bulbar polio — very critical. My mother and I were sent on to Mercy Hospital. I remember being quickly taken from my mother, put in a wheelchair, whisked away to a nearby room with other children, and then wheeled past a group of onlookers, including my mother, who were kept separate from us behind a rope to prevent contact. Continue reading

Clubs celebrate Rotary’s anniversary, 30 years of PolioPlus

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This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. It also is 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

Rotary clubs are celebrating the milestones in a variety of ways. The Rotary Club of Mt. Warning AM, New South Wales, Australia, gave away pancakes and handouts on the village’s main street. Continue reading

How will you celebrate 30 years of PolioPlus?

Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary's anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.

Rotary members in Panama City, Panama, celebrated Rotary’s anniversary last year by lighting up the Biodiversity Museum with the End Polio Now logo.

This year marks 30 years since Rotary launched its campaign to rid the world of polio.

During a speech at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in February 1985, then President Carlos Canseco announced what he called “the biggest news in Rotary,” an organized campaign to eradicate polio by working alongside the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Prior to that, Rotary Foundation grants had supported immunization activities in individual countries.

Leading up to Rotary’s anniversary, 23 February, we will have coverage of our progress in eradicating polio, and what Rotary clubs are doing to celebrate, on Rotary.org and endpolio.org. Send photos of your club’s celebration to blog@rotary.org to be included in a special gallery here.

Golf marathon raises money for polio eradication

Jerry Venters (left) and Rger Samuel, members of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza, show the played 100 holes of golf, adding the "This Close" gesture.

Jerry Venters (left) and Roger Samuel, members of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza, show they played 100 holes of golf, adding the “This Close” gesture.

By Jerry Venters,  a  member of the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza

Some golfers played 54 holes, some played 65 holes. Others played 100 holes, and one played 126 holes. All in a single day in September, in a drive to raise money to help eradicate polio. And, oh, how they succeeded!

In our district’s first-ever Pars v. Polio Golf Marathon, Rotary members in District 6040 (north Missouri) raised $42,530 in pledges and donations. When you figure in the Bill & Melinda Gates pledge to match 2-to-1 every dollar that Continue reading

The amazing role of Australians in eradicating polio

Susanne Rea and a friend during her visit to India.

Susanne Rea and a friend during her visit to India.

By Susanne Rea, past president of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, Queensland, Australia

I was four-years-old when I contracted polio. I was fortunate to have made a complete recovery, but defeating polio has remained personal for me. I am also proud to be an Aussie. You can bet I was cheering loudly during the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney when our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced a pledge of $100 million over five years to help eradicate polio.

On Australia Day (26 January), I reflected on the significant contribution Australians have had on polio eradication. Past RI President Clem Renouf (1978-79) had the vision to involve Rotary in ridding the world of this crippling disease. Rotary member Jenny Horton has spent her life on the front lines, immunizing children against polio in endemic countries. Continue reading

Get the latest Rotary news on Flipboard

Monica Kinyua (right) and her sister, Jane Wanjiru, founded the Children's Peace Initiative Kenya. Read more about them in our flipboard.

Monica Kinyua (right) and her sister, Jane Wanjiru, founded the Children’s Peace Initiative Kenya. Read more about them in our roundup on Flipboard.

By Rotary Voices staff

Check out our latest roundup of news and feature stories from Rotary News and The Rotarian magazine on Flipboard. You’ll discover how Rotary members in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, gathered 40,000 people to make the world’s largest human national flag as a tribute to India being polio-free; how a Rotary Scholar is building peace among pastoral tribes in northern Kenya; why Matt Damon is using his star power to bring safe drinking water to those who lack it, and more. Get up to date on Rotary news by reading the roundup.

How your year-end gift to The Foundation does a world of good

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

By Rotary Voices staff

There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways your support is helping change lives all over the world:

Educating children: Rotary members in Maine, USA, and Bikaner, India, are using a global grant to educate hundreds of children in Bikaner who previously were not attending school, and provide professional development for their teachers. Learn more about the project, which also provided desks for the students. Continue reading

Funding the fight against polio

A child who has tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

A child who tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

By Jewat Sunder, Rotary Club of Khipro Sunders, Pakistan

I recently traveled to the Sanghar District of Pakistan to meet the parents of a child who had tested positive for polio. Rotary members were taking part in immunizing children against polio during a one-day drive.

Seeing the child reminded me all the more why we must eradicate this disease. The parents cooperated with me in distributing vaccination information, and I handed out End Polio Now caps, pencils, and balls. Continue reading

World’s Largest Human National Flag

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By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Chennai, India, organized the creation of the world’s largest human national flag on 7 December on the grounds of the YMCA during a Rotary Day event. Rotary members joined 50,000 other people, and formed the blue wheel in the center of the human flag, while RI President Gary C.K. Huang, his wife, Corinna, and other Rotary leaders watched from a podium. After breaking the Guinness World Record, local Rotarians flipped over placards to show the Rotary logo and unfurled a large banner that read “Keep India Polio Free.”

Climbing Mount Olympus to eradicate polio

The climbers raise a banner on Mount Olympus, Greece.

The climbers raise banners on Mount Olympus, Greece.

By Kostas Karvounis

In September, I joined two fellow Rotary members in Greece, Vassilis Papagiannis and Spyros Gravellas, in climbing Mount Olympus to raise money and awareness for polio eradication.

Almost three-decades ago, Rotary promised to eradicate polio, and we intend to keep our promise. Even though Greece has been polio-free for more than two decades, I still remember close family friends who were disabled by polio. I have four children, and I know that until polio is eradicated from the world, it remains a threat to children everywhere. So offering our children a polio-free world is the least we can do. Continue reading