104 miles? I got this!

Nora Zei and team mates.

Nora Zei, right, and fellow team members Christian Pepera and Courtney Drew near the halfway mark of an 80-mile training ride. We are “This close” to ending polio — and the Wisconsin border.

By Nora Zei, Rotary staff

When I was selected for the Miles to End Polio team, I was both nervous and excited. I’ve loved cycling since I was a kid. But the longest ride I’d ever completed in a single day was 60 miles. I signed up to do 104 miles? Yikes!

But I’ve learned a little fear actually helps me, driving me to take my training seriously. Continue reading

Everyone should be protected from polio

Dave Stumpf during a training ride.

Dave Stumpf during a training ride.

By Dave Stumpf, Rotary staff

On one of my travels for Rotary, I visited our offices in New Delhi, India, in 2002. One image has always stuck with me since – that of a little girl begging on a train platform.

She was clearly afflicted with something terrible, impacting her ability to stand much less walk. My local hosts explained that she likely had polio. Now, I have my own 12-year-old daughter, and to know that she is safe from the scourge of polio, just because she had the good fortune to be born in the United States Continue reading

Financing polio eradication and development in Nigeria

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

By Quentin Wodon, president, Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA

As a lead economist at the World Bank, it has been exciting to see my organization step up to the plate and commit resources to the fight to eradicate polio, as we observe World Polio Day.

While the World Bank is not one of the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the organization does work closely with the GPEI, of which Rotary is a leading partner, as well as country governments to provide financing to help end polio. Continue reading

I thought I’d never walk again

: Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

By Nancy Wright Beasley, a polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Brandermill, Virginia, USA

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history. Continue reading

Polio survivors say ‘thank you’

Carol Ferguson presents the Collage of Gratitutde

Carol Ferguson, right, presents the Collage of Gratitude to Carol Pandak, Director of PolioPlus for Rotary International.

By Rotary staff

On 9 September, we received a visitor at Rotary International World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, who reminded us just how important the fight to eradicate polio is.

Every year, fewer and fewer cases of polio are reported, bringing us one-step closer to a polio-free world. Before Rotary launched the PolioPlus program in 1985, some 350,000 people a year were infected with the disease worldwide. Carol Ferguson was one of those people. Continue reading

Ready for the challenge of El Tour de Tucson

161010_drewBy Courtney Drew, Rotary staff

When I first interviewed to work at Rotary International, I told my future manager I was looking for a place to dig my roots deep; to contribute to the bigger picture, and to feel like I was part of an extended family. That, so far, has exactly been my experience here at Rotary and I am incredibly grateful.

Taking part in El Tour de Tucson as a member of the Miles to End polio team will provide a new level of depth to my roots; and bolster my connection to the Rotary family. Continue reading

Where a passion for cycling, service collide

Robson Duarte and bike in front of the São Paulo Cathedral.

Robson Duarte and bike in front of the São Paulo Cathedral.

161003_duarte_headBy Robson Duarte, Rotary staff

For the past two years, I have been a part of a volunteer group called “Atitude Certa.” Our mission is to visit orphanages and help with whatever we can, bringing joy and comfort to children even if it’s only on weekends. This is very gratifying, because we can see the joy stamped on the face of every child. Continue reading

Meet the 2016 Miles to End Polio team

2015 Miles to End Polio team

Last year’s Miles to End Polio team on ride day.

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. Continue reading

Fighting polio – an emergency response in Nigeria

Emergency Operations Center

The Emergency Operations Center in Abuja, Nigeria, kicks into action.

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada

In late August 2016, I had the extraordinary opportunity to be in the National Polio Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Abuja, Nigeria. The center was activated to manage the response to two polio cases confirmed in Borno State.

I was in Nigeria as part of a Polio External Review team with the World Health Organization, CDC, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that had been planned  months before. But with the discovery of new polio cases, our focus shifted. Continue reading

Polio survivor’s fight to live a normal life

Tingle, Beard and Rohling

Peggy Tingle with Neal Beard (left) and Keith Rohling, president-elect of the Lawrenceburg Rotary Club.

By Neal Beard, a member of the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA

“I was 18 when I contracted the disease,” Peggy said, as she spoke into a lowered, stationary microphone set up at the front of our meeting room. She spoke from a motorized wheelchair, reading from her notes.

Peggy was the guest speaker at our club meeting recently, and her story underscored for me why we need to remain committed to eradicating this terrible disease of polio. Statistics are one thing, but when you hear someone’s story who has battled the disease, it takes your emotional resolve to a completely different level. Continue reading