By Marcelo Frangiosa, governor of District 4855 (Argentina)
Rotarians in District 4855 recently had a chance to share Rotary’s polio eradication message with cycling enthusiasts during one of Argentina’s premier sporting events, the Doble Bragado.
As a result of a lot of hard work from many Rotarians in the district, thousands of spectators and nearly a hundred competing cyclists learned why Rotary is so committed to ridding the world of this crippling disease.
Although it has been almost 30 years since the last case of polio in our country, that is no reason for Argentinians to be in ignorance of the devastation this disease can cause. Unfortunately, complacency is all too prevalent. Wanting to do our part to educate as many people as possible, we approached the organizers of several sporting events. Buenos Aires Rotarians forged an important alliance with the National Cycling Club, which organizes the Doble Bragado.
Rotarian volunteers fanned out along the entire course of the prestigious race, which begins in Buenos Aires, goes to the city of Bragado, and doubles back to Buenos Aires, hence the name Doble Bragado. This is the race that every Argentinian cyclist dreams of taking part in at least once in their lifetime.
I asked Arturo Gianzanti, a Rotarian and former district governor who lives in the city of Bragado, to start working with race organizers. We needed help from a lot of Rotary clubs to cover the 870 miles of the race, which went through the cities of Tigre, General Viamonte, Pergamino, Bragado, Alberti, Chivilcoy, Suipacha, Mercedes, Luján, Moreno, Gral, Rodríguez, El Palomar, Caseros, and Buenos Aires. We wanted to cover as much of the route as we could because media coverage of this race is intense.
We took such pride in the effort, and belonging to Rotary. We were also moved by the reaction of the people, who expressed how grateful they were to learn about Rotary’s eradication efforts and to be offered a chance to do their part. Many of the cyclists posed for the iconic “We Are This Close” photo, and were added to the World´s Biggest Commercial.
In the nine days of the race, the organizers learned so much about Rotary and PolioPlus. It was an intense week, and I would estimate that around 10,000 people received first-hand the End Polio Now message, in addition to many more who followed the race through media coverage.
This is only one step in our ongoing effort to raise awareness for polio eradication and put this disease in the history books. Join us, as we change lives by working to End Polio Now.
- Learn more about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.
- Join the effort to make the World’s Biggest Commercial.
- Download the 2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan
- Find ways you can help Rotary advocate for a polio free world.
- Contribute to End Polio Now.