The tale of two fundraising rides

Kristin Brown, center, her husband, Mahmoud Ajamia -- who will also be riding in Tucson -- and Marga Hewko at the bottom of a steep hill on a recent training ride.

Kristin Brown, center, her husband, Mahmoud Ajamia, — who will also be riding in Tucson — and Marga Hewko at the bottom of a steep hill on a recent training ride.

By Kristin Brown

I am really excited to be returning to Tucson, Arizona, USA, this week for my second Miles to End Polio event and to join forces with the Rotarians cycling so that others may walk.

It has been an eventful year in the fight to End Polio Now. Nigeria achieved a milestone in July when it passed an entire year without a new case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus. And cases in the two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are at an all-time low. But now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on. One of my biggest concerns is that people will become complacent and fail to recognize the threat that remains if we don’t completely eradicate this disease. Continue reading

We’re at a pivotal moment in history for ending polio

151112_stanulaBy Jean Stanula

When I was a kid, it seemed like “making a difference” was easy. I can recall asking for pledges for Jump Rope for Heart to raise money for the American Heart Association, and carrying a fish food jar converted into a donation canister around the neighborhood to collect nickels to help the American Cancer Society find a cure. I had a natural desire to give to others. Continue reading

No debate when it comes to ending polio

Scott Daniels on a training ride.

Scott Daniels on a training ride.

By Scott Daniels

What I remember most is the fear. I was too small to recall all the details, but when I was a child, polio struck the eastern Iowa community where I grew up.

When it hit, people took action. Parents kept their kids at home. The swimming pool shut down. You couldn’t play with the neighbor kids. One of our family friend’s kids contracted the disease. I can vividly remember parents and teachers being concerned about transmission of the virus.

There was no debate in my family over whether or not to vaccinate. You either did or you ran the risk of contracting the disease. We are blessed in the United States to Continue reading

Riding for my cousins, who perished from polio

151019_naishBy Naish Shah

My two cousins had polio, and they passed away before they reached adulthood. My brother, my sister, and I were fortunate to have been born here in Chicago, so we received the polio vaccine that my cousins in India never got. This has made me passionate about doing whatever I can to help eradicate this horrible disease.

I rode with the Miles to End Polio team last year. Continue reading

Memories of Kenya fuel my ride to end polio

Lindsey Griswold and her students at the Gede Special School in Kenya.

Lindsay Griswold and her students at the Gede Special School in Kenya.

By Lindsay Griswold

My passion for working with youth at an international level first blossomed during my time with the Peace Corps in Kenya. I served as a Deaf education volunteer from 2006 to 2008 at Gede Special School in Coast Province.

While I was not aware then of the significance Rotary would later have in my life, the school was built by the Rotary Club of Malindi, Kenya, a few months before my arrival. Gede serves not only students who Continue reading

Taking the polio eradication effort to the streets

150929_websterBy Norah Webster, Rotary staff

I love riding my bike. I don’t own a car, so I ride for transportation. I also ride for exercise, to explore, and to spend time with friends. My bike has allowed me to see parts of Chicago and surrounding communities that people never see from the highway.

As long as I’ve been riding, I’ve been raising funds, too — from pedaling around my hometown of Galena, Illinois, for children’s cancer research when I was 9, to raising Continue reading

Meet the Miles to End polio team

Last year's team mugs for the camera.

Last year’s team mugs for the camera.

John HewkoBy John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

On 21 November, Rotary staff members and I will join Arizona Rotary members to bike up to 104 miles in El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for polio eradication.

The event is one of the top cycling events in the U.S., attracting more than 9,000 cyclists each year. We are aiming to raise $3.4 million, which will be tripled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of more than $10 million for the fight to end polio. Continue reading

Pushing the limits to help end polio

The Miles to End Polio team during a chilly training ride.

The Miles to End Polio team during a chilly training ride.

By Kristin Brown, Rotary staff

It’s been three months since I was appointed captain of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio bike team and it’s been a great ride! Over the past 12 weeks, we’ve ridden hundreds of miles together, including weekly group rides of between 40 and 100 miles. More importantly, we’ve raised thousands of dollars for PolioPlus: as of this week, we met and passed the team goal of $15,000 well on our way to $20,000. Continue reading

Making grandpa proud and riding to end polio

Tom Woods is training for the El Tour de Tucson.

Tom Woods is training for the El Tour de Tucson.

By Tom Woods, Rotary staff

Prior to joining the staff at Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, my only exposure to Rotary was through my grandfather, Richard Stannard, who was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest, where I grew up.

Grandpa never really mentioned much about his membership with Rotary, but when I told him that I had been hired to work with the Secretariat in Evanston, he became really excited and invited me to come to his club’s lunch meeting. I had never seen him so proud when he announced to the club that I would be working for Rotary, and it became clear to me in that moment how much the organization meant to him. Continue reading

We all have a part to play in ending polio

Marc Prevost on a training ride.

Marc Prevot on a training ride.

By Marc Prevot, Rotary staff

As far back as I can remember, there were always bikes in my home. Since there is no better way to explore new neighborhoods or new cities, I’ve been on bicycles most of my life.

When the opportunity to be part of Rotary’s team for El Tour de Tucson came along, I jumped at it without a second thought. Being an avid cyclist, I already ride several times a week, but this gives me a far worthier motivation than adding miles to my bike. Continue reading