By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary
On 19 November, a team of Rotary staff and I will join Rotary members from Arizona (District 5500) and around the world to cycle up to 104 miles in El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for polio eradication.
The event is one of the top cycling events in the U.S., attracting more than 9,000 cyclists each year. We are aiming to raise $3.4 million, which will be tripled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of more than $10 million for the fight to end polio.
In August, the World Health Organization confirmed two cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) in Nigeria, the first cases in the country since July 2014. While this news is disappointing for all of us, we must remain steadfast and fully committed to fighting polio anywhere children remain at risk, including Nigeria and Africa. Now, more than ever, we need to redouble our efforts to help Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria to retain strong immunization coverage globally. Supporting the Miles To End Polio ride is one way to show these countries that Rotary’s commitment to polio eradication is unwavering, whatever obstacles we face.
Learn more about each team member, follow them as they train, and add your support by donating to their ride. Team members will be sharing their training experiences here on our blog as the event draws near.
Would you like to join the team? Take part in the Indoor Ride to End Polio! Ride a stationary bike at your local gym or at home any time from 12-19 November. Register today or make a contribution to help Rotary create a polio-free world.
Courtney Drew is an analysis and pre-conventions specialist, focusing on Rotary’s Youth Exchange program. She joined Rotary in 2014 and has worked on two international conventions. Because of her role, she has met hundreds of Rotary and Rotaract members and is impressed by their commitment to Doing Good in the World. As a longtime athlete, she’s no stranger to training programs and is ready for the opportunity to make a direct impact.
Robson Duarte works at Rotary’s Brazil office in São Paulo. Robson says Rotary’s work in local and international communities makes him feel proud to be part of the staff. He can be found cycling on the streets of São Paulo during his daily commute to work or on his way to volunteer at orphanages. Besides cycling, Robson also enjoys hiking and other outdoor sports during his free time. He is eager to ride with the Miles to End Polio team.
Christian Pepera manages The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, a group of volunteer Rotarians who monitor and evaluate Rotary’s grant projects. He has worked at Rotary for nearly a decade and has had the opportunity to visit Rotary-funded projects to see firsthand the incredible results that members have achieved. Christian sees participating in Miles to End Polio as a chance for him to get out of his cubicle and join colleagues and Rotary members who are directly contributing to the eradication of a devastating disease.
Dave Stumpf is director of auditing services at Rotary International and president of the Rotary Club of Evanston, Illinois, USA. He has participated in several triathlons and has finished two 140.6-mile Ironman competitions, as well as many other running and cycling events over the years. Dave is looking forward to crossing the finish line at El Tour de Tucson and helping Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.
Jose Zambrano is a contribution processor for The Rotary Foundation. For as long as he can remember, he has been passionate about outdoor activities and sports. Jose believes that team activities make you push yourself the extra mile, just as he sees Rotary members push themselves to make their communities better. He is excited to improve his abilities, raise funds for polio eradication, and have plenty of fun along the way.
Nora Zei has worked at Rotary for nearly 14 years, currently as senior director of programs and member services. She is proud of how far Rotary has come in its efforts toward a polio-free world. Nora has spent hours contributing to polio-eradication fundraising efforts in her various Rotary roles, and she is eager for the chance to participate in a much more personal way — through cycling, her favorite hobby. Nora is excited to challenge herself to complete her first 100-mile ride.
Let’s End Polio Now!