Five ways to take action on World Polio Day

141021_WPDgraphicBy Rotary staff

Join us in making history. When we finally rid the world of polio, it will only be the second time that a human disease has been eradicated (the first being smallpox). And we are “this close” to ending polio. Here are five easy ways you can get involved for World Polio Day, 24 October. Continue reading

Yoga to end polio

Adam Arents, second from right, leads the Miles to End polio team in a yoga stretch.

Adam Arents, second from right, leads the Miles to End polio team in a yoga stretch.

By Adam Arents, Rotary staff

For the past two years, I’ve helped coordinate yoga classes for staff at Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, bringing in a yoga instructor to lead us in stretching, bending, and breaking up the stiffness that can accumulate after too many hours staring at a computer. I appreciate yoga for the ways it challenges me, loosens me up, and quiets my mind in the midst of the cacophony of everyday life.

Recently, I’ve felt the need for yoga even more as I’ve spent hours riding my bike around the Chicago area to prepare for the 104-mile El Tour de Tucson. Continue reading

Why does ending polio matter?

By Rotary Voices staff

On World Polio Day 24 October, Rotary will be hosting a live-streamed event including an update on our fight to end polio. Here are some links to polio-related resources and recent media articles. Continue reading

All the steps I have taken since polio

Linda at St. Mary's hospital, 18 months old.

Linda at St. Mary’s hospital, 18 months old.

By Linda L. Christianson, polio survivor

I was stricken with polio at the age of 7 months. From 1948 to 1953 the disease crippled 250,000 children a year. There was no vaccine to protect me from the virus at the time. My young parents took me to St. Mary’s Hospital, in Rochester, Minnesota, on 1 October, 1948.

That would become my home for the next 14 months. Fortunately, my three-year-old sister did not become affected by the virus. In many families several children would be stricken. Continue reading

From foot surgery to biking 104 miles to end polio

Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.

Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.

By Catherine Lankford, Rotary staff

My upcoming participation in El Tour de Tucson as part of Rotary’s Miles to End Polio team means a great deal to me on many levels.

My first introduction and connection to Rotary began in Mexico, Missouri, through my paternal grandfather, who was a member and president of the Rotary club in that community. I remember hearing stories from him about his weekly meetings, the work he did with his club, his commitment to polio eradication (both as a Rotarian and medical doctor), and the lifelong Continue reading

Overcoming all challenges for polio eradication


By Rotary Voices staff

Salman Ahmad, founder of the popular Pakistani band Junoon, is the latest musician to lend his talents to our campaign to End Polio Now, recording this video to mobilize Pakistan’s various ethnic and religious groups in support of eradicating the crippling disease. Pakistan is one of only three countries, the other two being Nigeria and Afghanistan, where transmission of the live polio virus has never been stopped. Continue reading

Back on a bike for Miles to End Polio

Alison Randall and her boyfriend, Jerry, during at a training ride for El Tour de Tucson.

Alison Randall and her boyfriend, Jerry, during at a training ride for El Tour de Tucson.

By Alison Randall, Rotary staff

Being a part of the Miles to End Polio team has been helping rebuild my confidence in bicycling.

A few years ago, I was living in Madison, Wisconsin, riding to class one morning, when another student cyclist I was passing decided to turn left without warning. I crashed and fell off my bike, but thankfully was not seriously injured. Nevertheless, after that incident, I decided to walk to class. No more biking for me.

Time has gone by, and now many of my Continue reading

Team captain excited to be part of Miles to End Polio effort

Kristin Brown, left, and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a break during the North Shore Century ride.

Kristin Brown, left, and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a break during the North Shore Century ride.

By Kristin Brown, Rotary staff

In 1987, I returned home to Evanston, Illinois, for the summer after spending a year at the Istituto Affari Internazionali as a graduate student in Rome, Italy. Rotary International was moving into a new building in downtown Evanston and ramping up efforts to eradicate polio. I didn’t know much about polio then, but Rotary needed temporary staff and I needed a summer job.

Never would I have guessed that more than 20 years later, I’d come back to Rotary as a manager in RI Programs, that I would follow my father and grandfather in becoming a Rotarian, and that I’d be serving as captain of the 2014 RI Staff Miles to End Polio team, training for El Tour de Tucson. Continue reading

Rotarians are a powerful force for polio eradication

A child is immunized against polio.

A child is immunized against polio.

By Steve Crane, a member of the Rotary Club of Seattle, Washington, USA, and a polio survivor. Crane has been appointed district polio eradication advocacy chair by successive governors in District 5030.

Rotary members are being asked if recent headlines mean there is some doubt about ending polio for good. Our answer is that the end of polio in India is the headline to remember.

We are at the heart of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a partnership of Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many national governments. Rotary has contributed $1.3 billion to the GPEI through PolioPlus. And it is committed to adding up to $105 million per year over the next four years through the End Polio Now: Make History Today campaign.  Continue reading

Turning bicycle parts into wheelchairs for polio survivors

Ayuba Burki Gufwan, a polio survivor and member of Rotary, founded Beautiful Gate, an organization that makes wheelchairs for Nigerian polio survivors. Here Gufwan speaks about his mission and about advocating for polio immunization.

Read Gufwan’s blog post about Beautiful Gate.