By 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
“It is well that there is nothing in Rotary so sacred that it cannot be set aside in favor of things better.”
Paul Harris plants a tree in Santiago, Chile.
On this trip, Harris also planted trees in Callao and Lima, Peru; Bogotá, Colombia; Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil
In 1936, Paul Harris and his wife, Jean, traveled throughout Central and South America. Upon their return to Chicago, Paul shared his experiences in Peregrinations III.
Reflecting on a tree planting in Chile — one of many during the trip, he noted that he thought of tree plantings as a symbol of good will, and hoped that the trees he had planted at home and abroad would stand for generations. Continue reading
Courtney (center with hat in lap) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari earlier this year. Photo courtesy of District 9800
By Emanuel Tumino, a member of the Rotary Club of Footscray, Victoria, Australia
A chance encounter on the side of a dusty road deep in the Queensland Outback will forever change the life of one teen-ager, thanks to the magic of Rotary Youth Exchange.
In March of 2012, I was one of three leaders for our annual safari tour for 16 inbound Youth Exchange students which takes students deep into the Outback for a unique look at Australia’s remote areas. The bus stopped for a coffee break along the highway at a town of about 350 consisting of a few shops, houses, and a post office with the only cappuccino machine in “town.” Continue reading
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
Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser
By Leonor Fraser, a member of the Rotary Club of Soldotna, Alaska, USA
“Even the world’s mightiest rivers have humble beginnings.”
Earlier this year, I was part of a team of Rotary members from my district who visited a school in San Jeronimo, Masaya, Nicaragua, to play with the children and deliver shoes. But what we discovered very quickly is the children needed much more than shoes.
Their school is located near a diesel-fuel plant that emits pollutants into the air. Continue reading
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
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, Arizona) Continue reading
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
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
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