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

A milestone for polio eradication

150724_mcgovernEditor’s Note: This post, first published in July, has been revised to reflect the new milestone reached in our fight to eradicate polio, and to celebrate Membership and New Club Development Month. Rotary members have many opportunities to make a difference, including being part of history as we seek a polio-free world. Rotary members have led the way in fundraising, advocacy, and lining up volunteer support for polio eradication.

By Michael McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Africa has now marked a full year with no new cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus anywhere on the continent.

This is the longest the continent has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way; it was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa – three-quarters of all cases in the world. Continue reading

Rotary torch keeps the flame burning for polio eradication in Afghanistan

Members of the Rotary Club of Kabul hold the Rotary torch during its stop at their club.

Mohammed Ishak, Rotary Club of Jalalabad, holds the torch during a joint event with the Rotary Club of Kabul City. Luke Beer, author of this post, is second from right in back.

By Luke Beer, president of the Rotary Club of Kabul City, Afghanistan

As some of you know, a Rotary “flame” was launched in December in Chennai, India, to commemorate India becoming polio-free and to promote the need to go the last mile in the battle to eradicate this horrible crippling disease. The torch has made its way through several countries already, and will pass through all three polio endemic countries  – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria – before arriving at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo 6-9 June.

I want to share with you just how inspiring it was to be part of the flame’s journey. As an Afghan club, we are so grateful for the energy it has given us as a club to refocus our efforts on polio awareness, working alongside the Rotary Club of Jalalabad. 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