By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary
For more than 20 years, Rotary members and their friends have worked tirelessly to keep our promise to the world’s children to eradicate polio. We’re almost there, but as in any race, the last mile is the hardest.
To honor those who strive to reach this historic goal of eradicating a disease for only the second time in history, I will again be joining Rotary members in the Tucson, Arizona, area on 23 November to raise money for Rotary’s Polio Plus Program by riding 111 miles in El Tour de Tucson. (Listen to Hewko’s interview with ESPN Radio in Tucson, Arizona) It’s one of the top U.S. cycling events, and it attracts more than 9,000 cyclists a year.
Last year, thanks to the generous support of many members of Rotary and their friends, we were able to raise more than US$240,000 in pledges for polio eradication through the Ride to End Polio. This year, staff at RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, and our International offices around the world are joining me in a parallel effort to raise support while setting a mileage goal in their own favorite manner – biking, walking, spinning, or whatever locomotion helps meet their wellness goals.
Already, we have been receiving tremendous response. Rotary clubs, districts, and members of the public have committed more than $700,000 to the effort. Staff volunteers exceeded the goals we set, with 179 staff logging nearly 5,000 miles, raising over $14,000 in pledges.
You can read more about their effort on the Miles to End Polio project profile on Rotary’s crowdsourcing platform, ideas.rotary.org. What we raise will be matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation two for one, tripling the impact.
To motivate myself to train for the El Tour de Tucson, and encourage others to log their miles, each Monday I will be updating my training schedule for the previous week here in the blog. I encourage you to support our effort, share your training accomplishments, and join the fight to end this crippling disease. Together, let’s End Polio Now.
Last week’s schedule:
|Monday, 11 November||90 minutes on trainer with bike|
|Tuesday, 12 November||speaking in Pittsburgh|
|Wednesday, 13 November||speaking in Arkansas|
|Thursday, 14 November||45 minutes on trainer with bike, 1 mile swim|
|Friday, 15 November||1.5 hours on trainer with bike|
|Saturday, 16 November||2.5 hours on trainer with bike, stretch, weights|
|Sunday, 17 November||70 minutes on trainer with bike, stretch, weights|