By Kristin Brown, Rotary staff
In 1987, I returned home to Evanston, Illinois, for the summer after spending a year at the Istituto Affari Internazionali as a graduate student in Rome, Italy. Rotary International was moving into a new building in downtown Evanston and ramping up efforts to eradicate polio. I didn’t know much about polio then, but Rotary needed temporary staff and I needed a summer job.
Never would I have guessed that more than 20 years later, I’d come back to Rotary as a manager in RI Programs, that I would follow my father and grandfather in becoming a Rotarian, and that I’d be serving as captain of the 2014 RI Staff Miles to End Polio team, training for El Tour de Tucson.
It’s been just over a month since the team was selected and we’ve been putting in the miles, individually and collectively, to prepare for the 22 November event. As captain, I’ve organized a group ride of between 40-60 miles (60-100 kilometers) every weekend for the past five weeks. A few weeks ago, we rode north and west of Chicago to join members of the Rotary clubs of Long Grove, Kildeer, and Hawthorn Woods at the 17th annual Long Grove Heritage 5K Run and Walk. The clubs raised more than $100,000 for several charities, including PolioPlus. On 21 September, we took part in the North Shore Century, riding from Evanston to Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Not every team member will ride the full 100-plus miles in El Tour de Tucson, but we are all pushing ourselves to do more than we’ve ever done before. I know I can ride 100 miles, but my challenge will be to do it in Tucson’s hills.
While cycling 100 miles is both physically and mentally challenging, it’s nothing compared to the challenges faced by those afflicted with polio. We’ve come a long way since 1987, but we haven’t reached the finish line. Polio is still endemic in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We can’t rest until we have completely eradicated it. That’s why I’m proud to be leading the Rotary Staff Miles to End Polio team, raising funds and awareness. It’s time to sprint to the finish.
- Support Kristin’s ride
- Learn more about Miles to End Polio
- Discover other ways you can help us in the fight to end polio
Kristin Brown is manager of Rotary Service Connections at RI World Headquarters and a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse. She is leading a team of six Rotary staff members who will be riding in El Tour de Tucson along with General Secretary John Hewko to raise money for polio eradication. Check back for posts from other team members leading up to the 22 November event .