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

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

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

Photos of World Polio Day events

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Rotary Voices staff

From the opening of a polio exhibit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to the illumination of the Mohatta Palace in Karachi, Pakistan, Rotary members celebrated World Polio Day, observed 24 October, in a variety of ways. Here is a gallery of photos from different events. Submit yours to blog@rotary.org

Catch Rotary’s World Polio Day event on Livestream

141024_wpdBy Rotary Voices staff

Join the fight to end polio this World Polio Day be tuning in to our global update on Livestream, beginning 24 October, 18:30 Chicago time (UTC-5). The event will feature Jeffery Kluger, a senior writer at TIME Magazine; Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Minda Dentler, a paraplegic athlete and polio survivor; Tessanne Chin, winner of the fifth season of NBC’s TV singing competition The Voice; and Jamaican musician Ziggy Marley. Continue reading

Honoring Salk and Sabin by finishing the job of ending polio

Dr. John L. Sever discusses the origins of PolioPlus in this video recorded last year.

The following is an excerpt of an address given by Dr. Sever, vice chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, to the Innovations in Healthcare Symposium 23 October in New York, held to honor Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin for World Polio Day and the 100th anniversary of Salk’s birth.

I had the pleasure of knowing both Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin through our mutual participation at medical meetings, and when they would visit me at my offices and laboratories at the National Institutes of Health.

I remember in particular a medical meeting in Miami Beach, Florida, in the 1960s at which Dr. Sabin and I were both speakers. On the first morning of the meeting, my wife and I came down for breakfast. Dr. Sabin was sitting alone and invited us to join him. Continue reading

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