By Marcos Netto, Rotary Club of Canoas-Industrial, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
As a business person for almost 30 years, I have seen many people approaching our company asking for donations for all sorts of needs.
So when paralympic athlete João Correa from Canoas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, contacted me asking for financial support to purchase a racing handcycle, I thought there could be another way to help him and raise awareness for his disability. (João lost the use of his leg in a work-related accident when he was 18).
That lead to an interesting project we called “Ultramaratona” (Ultramarathon). With the help of the Rotary Club of Canoas-Industrial in District 4670 and two private companies, João Correa got his handcycle under the condition that he take part in our Ultramarathon Challenge. He will be racing to complete 200 kilometers (124 miles) in under 12 hours.
We hope the project raises awareness for those with disabilities and encourages companies to contribute money and volunteers for similar projects. Although João’s disability is not a result of polio, many victims of polio have similar disabilities. Eradicating polio is one of Rotary’s top causes, so we hope this challenge also focuses attention on the work Rotary has been doing to eliminate polio.
The challenge will take place in April 2013. More than 20 volunteers including cyclists, physicians, and nutritionists are involved in the preparation. We already consider it a success because since its launch last month, Rotary has receive media coverage like we have never seen before.