Kathleen Plaza’s own This Close portrait
By Kathleen Plaza, Rotary Scholar
I was born and raised in a rural barrio (neighborhood) in Mindanao, Philippines. I moved to Guam when I was about 18 years old. I became a member of the Rotaract Club of the Marianas in Guam when I was completing my undergrad degree in biology, and served as secretary in 2011-12 and as youth services director in 2012-13.
I moved to Hawaii in August 2015, and with a Rotary Scholarship funded by a global grant, began taking classes in public health, focused on disease prevention and treatment. I will finish my program in May 2017. Continue reading
Kristin Brown, center, her husband, Mahmoud Ajamia, — who will also be riding in Tucson — and Marga Hewko at the bottom of a steep hill on a recent training ride.
By Kristin Brown
I am really excited to be returning to Tucson, Arizona, USA, this week for my second Miles to End Polio event and to join forces with the Rotarians cycling so that others may walk.
It has been an eventful year in the fight to End Polio Now. Nigeria achieved a milestone in July when it passed an entire year without a new case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus. And cases in the two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are at an all-time low. But now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on. One of my biggest concerns is that people will become complacent and fail to recognize the threat that remains if we don’t completely eradicate this disease. Continue reading
By Jean Stanula
When I was a kid, it seemed like “making a difference” was easy. I can recall asking for pledges for Jump Rope for Heart to raise money for the American Heart Association, and carrying a fish food jar converted into a donation canister around the neighborhood to collect nickels to help the American Cancer Society find a cure. I had a natural desire to give to others. Continue reading
Scott Daniels on a training ride.
By Scott Daniels
What I remember most is the fear. I was too small to recall all the details, but when I was a child, polio struck the eastern Iowa community where I grew up.
When it hit, people took action. Parents kept their kids at home. The swimming pool shut down. You couldn’t play with the neighbor kids. One of our family friend’s kids contracted the disease. I can vividly remember parents and teachers being concerned about transmission of the virus.
There was no debate in my family over whether or not to vaccinate. You either did or you ran the risk of contracting the disease. We are blessed in the United States to Continue reading
By Rotary Voices staff
Nigeria’s last case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus was reported on 24 July 2014, and the African continent has had no reported cases since 11 August 2014. The World Health Organization (WHO) removed Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries on 25 September. When Nigeria and every country in Africa have gone three years without a case of polio, WHO will certify the region as polio-free. Continue reading
Ann Lee Hussey administers polio drops to a child in Chad in 2014.
By Rotary Voices staff
Stories from polio survivors remind us why we have spent three decades committed to the pursuit of wiping this crippling disease from the face of the earth. Below is a brief summary and a link to a few of those stories shared on Rotary Voices and elsewhere. Also watch our World Polio Day global update to see how close we are to ending polio.
Ann Lee Hussey contracted polio when she was 17 months old. A member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA, she has taken part in countless National Immunization Day Continue reading
By Naish Shah
My two cousins had polio, and they passed away before they reached adulthood. My brother, my sister, and I were fortunate to have been born here in Chicago, so we received the polio vaccine that my cousins in India never got. This has made me passionate about doing whatever I can to help eradicate this horrible disease.
I rode with the Miles to End Polio team last year. Continue reading
Ethiopian children watch the immunization volunteers.
By Corinne Cavanaugh
As I walked up to a pile of dirt bricks beside a cottage in a small village in Ethiopia, I noticed two things immediately: the telltale odor of farming and the mouth sores of four small children. I will never forget the moment I saw those children, the first of many who received two life-saving drops of polio vaccine.
Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis, usually of the legs. In a developing country, polio paralysis could mean crawling around Continue reading
Lindsay Griswold and her students at the Gede Special School in Kenya.
By Lindsay Griswold
My passion for working with youth at an international level first blossomed during my time with the Peace Corps in Kenya. I served as a Deaf education volunteer from 2006 to 2008 at Gede Special School in Coast Province.
While I was not aware then of the significance Rotary would later have in my life, the school was built by the Rotary Club of Malindi, Kenya, a few months before my arrival. Gede serves not only students who Continue reading
By Norah Webster, Rotary staff
I love riding my bike. I don’t own a car, so I ride for transportation. I also ride for exercise, to explore, and to spend time with friends. My bike has allowed me to see parts of Chicago and surrounding communities that people never see from the highway.
As long as I’ve been riding, I’ve been raising funds, too — from pedaling around my hometown of Galena, Illinois, for children’s cancer research when I was 9, to raising Continue reading