By Kostas Karvounis
In September, I joined two fellow Rotary members in Greece, Vassilis Papagiannis and Spyros Gravellas, in climbing Mount Olympus to raise money and awareness for polio eradication.
Almost three-decades ago, Rotary promised to eradicate polio, and we intend to keep our promise. Even though Greece has been polio-free for more than two decades, I still remember close family friends who were disabled by polio. I have four children, and I know that until polio is eradicated from the world, it remains a threat to children everywhere. So offering our children a polio-free world is the least we can do.
Clubs throughout northern Greece helped publicize our climb and collect donations, which totalled more than $4,000 for PolioPlus. We reached Olympus’ highest peak, Mytikas, at 2,919 meters (9,570 feet) on 20 September following seven hard hours of mountain trekking. We celebrated by raising banners and the flags of clubs who had helped us. After spending the night at Christos Kakalos, the highest refuge on the mountain, we returned to our base camp at Litochoro, having covered 27 kilometers (16.77 miles) on the “Mountain of Gods” in just two days.
For my fellow climbers and I, it was an incomparable experience. We thank everyone who helped our effort. But you don’t have to climb a mountain to help us end polio. Please consider one of the many ways you can join our fight to rid the world of this crippling disease, and keep our promise to the world.
- Learn how you can help us advocate for a polio-free world
- Watch Rotary’s World Polio Day global update
- Give to end polio
About the author: Kostas Karvounis is governor of Rotary District 2484, which includes Northern Greece. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Corfu International.