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
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
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
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
Rotary riders at the start of El Tour de Tucson in 2014.
By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary
On 18 November, over 18,000 wheels will be gliding through the Sonora Desert. Those wheels will be propelled by 9,000 cyclists participating in the annual Tour de Tucson. Many ride for fun; many ride for the challenge of completing the long course of 106 miles; and many ride to raise money for humanitarian causes. Close to a hundred of those riders are fortunate enough to ride for nothing less than one of the greatest public health achievements in our time. Continue reading
A boy awaits the results of tests to determine if he has contracted polio.
By Mike Parry, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator for Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, northern and central England
As an RI representative on a World Health Organization post-polio outbreak surveillance audit in Ethiopia, I saw first-hand the front line difficulties experienced by doctors and local health workers. I also witnessed the very real fear of a child awaiting the result of tests to see if he had contracted polio. On my return to the United Kingdom, I was determined to be as involved as possible in supporting Rotary’s number one humanitarian project. Continue reading
A boy in the displaced persons camp waves at the visiting team.
By Carol Pandak, Director of PolioPlus for Rotary International
As we drove away from the Muna camp for Internally Displaced Persons on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the capital city of restive Borno State in Nigeria, a young boy dressed in brown tunic and pants gave us a friendly, somewhat surprised wave.
At 60,000 inhabitants, the camp had doubled in size since the same time last year as conflict continues to push people from their homes. My visit to the camp was the final stop on a trip to Nigeria with the Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, Mike McGovern, on the occasion of the country having not reported a case of polio for a year. But while we marked the date on the calendar, the visit was not celebratory. Continue reading
Michelle Provan and her dad, Robert, who died in 2006 from pulmonary complications stemming from postpolio syndrome.
By Michelle Provan
During the 1950s, shortly after World War II, polio had a rampant outbreak in Chicago. I remember my dad, Robert Provan, telling the story of how he went to play at Evergreen Park, taking a sip of cool water from a drinking fountain, and believing that is where he caught the deadly disease at age five.
He was diagnosed with the worst type of polio. It instantly affected his entire body, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. He also spent time in an iron lung. My grandparents tried a couple of specialists to no avail. In fact, they were told to institutionalize him, a practice that was common during this time. They were told, “He is a burden to the family, and he belongs in an institute. Just let him die.” Continue reading
A Rotary volunteer administers polio drops to a child missed by earlier rounds in Pakistan.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
By Alina A. Visram, manager, Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee
When I first joined Pakistan’s PolioPlus Committee (PNPPC) as a manager close to eight years ago, polio eradication seemed within our reach. I used the opportunity to study poliomyelitis beyond just perceiving it as “a crippling disease.” I researched the causes and consequences; the types of polio virus; modes of prevention; and how elusive the virus can be given the right conditions. Continue reading
Administering polio drops during an immunization trip to India.
Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of posts from polio eradication volunteers, Rotary staff, and survivors in honor of World Polio Day 24 October.
By Nancy Barbee, past governor of District 7730 (North Carolina, USA)
Picture a small town country girl from North Carolina on her way to India for the first time with her 12-year-old son. A personal mission to visit friends in the remote state of Bihar was the beginning of my Rotary story that has lasted for more than a decade. Continue reading