Santa’s helper leverages dollars for polio eradication

Santa, aka Rotarian Bruce Templeton, in Canada.

Santa paying a visit to a children’s hospital in Canada.

By Bruce Templeton, a member of the Rotary Club of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (Editor’s note: this post first published 10 May, 2013.)

While I know that RI President Ron Burton’s theme is “Engage Rotary: Change Lives,” I would like to add the thought that we can multiply the dollars we raise engaging Rotary before we turn them over to those who change lives.

I live in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. I am a Rotarian but also a good friend of Santa Claus and he and I have travelled together for 34 years. Continue reading

Eager for the polio vaccine in Ethiopia

A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams

A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams

By John Adams, a member of the Rotary Club of Somerset-Pulaski County, Kentucky, USA

At first, I thought the pull on my volunteer’s vest was one of the 50 or so village children who were following us, touching me to see if I was indeed real, because I was so different from them. But this was more than a child’s curious touch; it was a pull that caused me to lose my balance.

I turned in the direction of the pull to find it was not a playful child; but a determined mother, holding an infant. I will never forget her expression. I had no idea what she said in her dialect of Amharic or the local tribal language, but I knew exactly what she wanted. Continue reading

Traveling down a rough road with polio

131107_birdBy Patrick J. Bird, polio survivor and author of A Rough Road

During the polio epidemic of 1940, I contracted polio and became ensconced for 19 months in a “reconstruction home” far from my family. I was only 4 years old, and since all the other children were at least twice my age, I was initially placed in a room by myself instead of one of the dormitories.

Enduring loneliness, painful treatments, and lengthy, frustrating rehabilitation sessions, I learned to overcome my fears and to prevail Continue reading

A response to the polio outbreak in Syria

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By Bob Scott, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Polio was recently confirmed in Syria, a country that has been free of this disabling and potentially fatal disease since 1999. In response, health authorities in Syria and neighboring countries have launched urgent, large-scale, multi-country immunization campaigns to ensure that every child is reached with the polio vaccine.

Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are working together with local health authorities to activate the outbreak response. Continue reading

Remembering Jonas Salk on the anniversary of his birthday

Kurt Sipolski

Kurt Sipolski

By Kurt Sipolski, freelance writer, polio survivor, and resident of Palm Desert, California, USA 

Years ago, I founded and published a magazine for homeowners and designers, San Francisco Gentry magazine. 

It was easy to target advertisers. While homeowners don’t necessarily eat out more than renters, they sure as heck hire builders and landscapers more often.

One time, I called a fire contractor to sell him an ad. I had used him when an apartment in a building I owned caught fire. After refreshing his memory of who I was, he replied, “Oh, I  remember. You’re the cripple.”  Continue reading

Support grows for Miles to End Polio

John and Marga Hewko training for the El Tour de Tucson

RI General Secretary John Hewko and his wife, Marga.

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

For more than 20 years, Rotary members and their friends have worked tirelessly to keep our promise to the world’s children to eradicate polio. We’re almost there, but as in any race, the last mile is the hardest.

To honor those who strive to reach this historic goal of eradicating a disease for only the second time in history, I will again be joining Rotary members in the Tucson, Arizona, area on 23 November to raise money for Rotary’s Polio Plus Program by riding 111 miles in El Tour de Tucson. (Listen to Hewko’s interview with ESPN Radio in Tucson, ArizonaContinue reading

Why I became an ambassador for polio eradication

Archie Panjabi addresses the 2013 Rotary International Convention.

Archie Panjabi addresses the 2013 Rotary International Convention.

By Archie Panjabi, Emmy-winning actor and celebrity ambassador in Rotary’s “This Close” public awareness campaign

When I was 10 years old, I had an opportunity to stay in my parents’ homeland, India, for a period of two years. Coming from England, it was a huge cultural shock. But it was also a great experience for me to learn about my heritage.

One of the things that affected me deeply was my daily walk to school –  I would witness children crawling on the streets. Some of them were on planks of wood with wheels and just rolling themselves along. When the traffic would stop they’d knock on the car doors, begging for money.  Continue reading

We can’t afford to lose the fight against polio

Dennis Ogbe with two gold medals during the 2012 National Trials in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Dennis Ogbe with two gold medals during the 2012 US National Trials in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dennis Ogbe, a Paralympic athlete from Louisville, Kentucky, USA, contracted polio as a child in Nigeria, while being treated for malaria. He eventually regained full use of his right leg, and began to compete in track and field.

As an athlete, I enjoy competition – but there is a battle happening off the field that is more important: the fight to end polio.

This fight is personal to me. I grew up in Nigeria, where I contracted polio at the age of 3. It was tough being the only kid on the playground in a wheelchair. For years I watched the other kids play, and when I tried to participate, they moved away from me. Continue reading

Traveling to Nigeria to fight polio

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.

As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading

Polio did not put a brake on my life

131017_gufwan2By Ayuba Burki Gufwan, a polio survivor and founder/director of Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center in Plateau State, Nigeria. Launched in 1999, Beautiful Gate has built and distributed more than 6,000 tricycle-type wheelchairs to polio survivors in Nigeria and neighboring states.

I was born in a tiny village in Plateau State, Nigeria. My mother had lost two babies before I was born, so when I came along everyone was very excited. I still remember faintly playing around with other kids. At the age of five, I came down with polio.

Continue reading