By Arnold R. Grahl
From riding the rails in Sydney, Australia, to crossing mountain paths on the way to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru, members of Rotary have been coming up with creative ways to raise money and awareness for polio eradication leading up to World Polio Day 24 October.
Already, clubs and individuals have listed more than 1,600 events on Endpolio.org. Promote your event and mark your calendar to watch the livestream of Rotary’s World Polio Day event at 18:30 Philadelphia time (UTC-4) on 24 October.
Here are just a few of the events Rotarians have planned or held:
- In Sydney, Australia, father and son combo Mark and Dave Anderson came up with the idea of having Rotarians ride the trains in an attempt to travel through all 187 stations in the city’s metropolitan rail network while promoting Rotary’s fight against polio. The effort raised more than AU$242,000 in pledges from individuals, clubs, and corporations, as of early October. Wearing bright red End Polio Now T-shirts, Mark and Dave were joined by Jaz Stephens of the Rotary Club of North Sydney Sunrise for the entire journey, beginning at Epping station at 4:32 a.m. Many other Rotarians and clubs jumped on for segments of the ride, including District Governor Sue Hayward who rode for 17 hours and Mark Tanner of Drummoyne, who completed 80 percent of the journey.
- Three French Rotaractors undertook a grueling five-day trek to Machu Picchu in Peru to raise money for polio eradication efforts. Through the “Climb like Ibrahim” project, French Rotaractors have previously ascended Mont Blanc and Mount Kilimanjaro and tackled the GR 20 footpath across Corsica to promote the End Polio Now campaign. This year, Pauline Daburon, president of the Rotaract Club of Neptune Pornichet, and Camille Tesseirenc and Jean-Marhy Mahoungou Linares, members of the Rotaract Club of the Angoulême le Valois, passed through rainforests and across rocky passages in Peru, making the difficult ascent of Machu Picchu in pouring rain.
- Rotarians in India decorated their cars with banners, stickers, and flags, and drove to Nehru Park in New Delhi on 14 October as part of a car rally organized by the India National PolioPlus Committee and supported by eight Rotary, two Rotaract, and two Interact districts. More than 500 vehicles and 2,000 members took part. Government or political leaders waved the flags to begin individual rallies from eight different starting spots. Teams stopped along the way to distribute information and encourage parents to get their children immunized against polio, measles, and rubella.
- An End Polio Festival in Port Said, Egypt, on 7 September raised awareness for polio eradication, and included a motorcade through the streets of Port Said, a road race, a blood drive, and a concert that attracted thousands and included celebrities and entertainment.
- Ward Vuillemot, of Skaneateles, New York, USA, decided to use his hobby to further the cause of polio eradication and carve special wood bottle stoppers to give to every member who made a new contribution of $100 or more to PolioPlus. After trying it out on his own club, he expanded the effort district-wide, and at the end of two years in June, had prompted $13,000 in new donations to PolioPlus. Vuillemot donated the materials, labor, and other expenses associated with making the “PolioStoppers.”
- The Rotary Club of Bangor, Gwynedd, Wales, will be turning the Menai Strait purple from 22-26 October, using special floodlights to create a purple glow that will stretch from Caernarfon Castle along the water to Beaumaris Castle. The Pontio Building in Bangor will also be splashed in purple light, along with other projected messages, for a local event on 24 October to mark World Polio Day.
In addition to promoting your event, share what your club is doing on social media using #WorldPolioDay. You can also participate simply by spreading the word and sharing photos, videos, and written material from the Endpolio.org Resource Center. Send photos of your event to email@example.com or leave a comment below.