Who is that poster girl?

Francine Falk-Allen

By Francine Falk-Allen

One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people – children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care. Most of the patients were young children, who were the most prone to severe aspects of the disease. People were asked to send in “even a dime” and there were coin collection placards put out in stores, churches, gas stations, anywhere that people might be able to spare a dime. (A dime in 1950 would be worth about ninety cents in 2018.) Continue reading

A tribute to a tireless polio eradication volunteer


Video from the memorial service for Jack Blane

By David Waring, Past President, Breakfast Rotary Club of Barrington, Illinois, and Past Governor of Rotary District 6440

When polio is finally eradicated from the planet and we look back on Rotary’s role in making that happen, one of the first persons history is certain to smile upon will be Jack Blane. Sadly, Jack did not live to see the day that we all look forward to, but his remarkable contribution and tireless efforts live on as we bring this worthy battle to its conclusion.  Continue reading

Ralph’s Rickshaw Ride for Polio

Ralph Zuke with a passenger in his cycle-drawn rickshaw.

By Ralph Zuke, president of the Rotary Club of Fairview Heights, Illinois, USA

I am often asked, “Why Rotary?” The short answer is: Rotary allows me the opportunity to do things I never dreamed I could do.

The Rotary symbol is a cogged wheel. I view every member in Rotary as a cog in that wheel (about 1.2 million). When I first joined Rotary I learned that I, as one person, could move that wheel forward. Continue reading

How Rotary became the heart, soul of polio eradication

Ken Solow

By Ken Solow, past governor of District 7620

Have you ever wondered how Rotary became involved with polio eradication in the first place? I did. I used to use polio eradication as an example of poor goal setting in my presidents-elect training seminar classes. It was up there right next to world peace. I mean … really?

It turns out that one of the true giants in our story was a past governor in my district (7620). His name is Dr. John Sever. While you’ve probably never heard of him, I think when you learn his story you will be amazed. You will also learn about many other Rotary leaders who have been a part of the incredible story of how Rotary got started on our journey to eradicate polio.  Continue reading

Images from the 2017 Ride to End Polio

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By Rotary Voices staff, Photos by James S. Wood

The 2017 Ride to End Polio posted another successful year at El Tour de Tucson in Arizona, USA, in November. A team of staff members and Rotary General Secretary John Hewko joined 120 cyclists from 18 U.S. states and Canadian provinces, Australia, Brazil, Germany, and France. In addition, the effort was joined by 18 Indoor Ride to End Polio teams, including six district teams and 12 club teams comprising more than 300 participants.

As of 13 December, the ride had raised $11.7 million for polio eradication, after the match by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total funds raised since inception of the ride to a little more than $47 million. Miles to End Polio staff riders raised $278,000 this year. About $66,000 was raised through the team’s Rotary Ideas page.

5 reasons to support The Rotary Foundation on Giving Tuesday

By Rotary staff

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world, by promoting peace, preventing disease, supporting education, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.

Here are just a few ways your generosity is changing lives. Continue reading

What excites me about Miles to End Polio

Kea Gorden before a training ride in Evanston.

By Kea Gorden, planned giving officer

On World Polio Day, I watched Rotary’s livestream event and realized that I really am in the middle of history in the making. As part of the Rotary staff Miles to End Polio team, I will be riding 106 miles on 18 November in the El Tour de Tucson. Riding that far is not something I’ve ever done before. But it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to feel like I can be a part of an effort that is having such a significant impact. As I watched Bill Gates announce his belief that this year will be the one where polio is finally stopped, I realized how close we really all. Continue reading

Ready to ride for more

By Chelsea Mertz, Community Specialist, Rotary Service Connections

Since starting at Rotary in August 2015, I have been fortunate enough to support both the 2015 and 2016 Miles to End Polio teams. While supporting these teams, I’ve come to know many Rotarians and staff who are committed to funding the fight to end polio. I admire their hard work and dedication; they’ve inspired me to do more, to finally put myself forward and join the ranks of Rotary’s volunteer army. Continue reading

Watch our World Polio Day livestream event

By Rotary staff

Polio is no longer the menace it once was in many parts of the world. But until it is eradicated everywhere, it is still a threat to people anywhere. To find out where we are at in our effort to rid the world of this crippling disease, tune in to our World Polio Day livestream event at 14:30 PDT (UTC-7) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle. Continue reading

How Rotary’s polio scholarship is helping me achieve my goals

Dr. Koko Khurram Rizwani takes a selfie with colleagues.

By Dr. Koko Khurram Rizwani, Rotary PolioPlus Memorial Scholarship recipient

About a year ago, I was facing many anxieties and worries about how I was going to complete my graduate studies and realize my short and long term goals of improving public health in Pakistan. Receiving Rotary’s PolioPlus Memorial Scholarship has been like a dream come true. Continue reading