Traveling down a rough road with polio

131107_birdBy Patrick J. Bird, polio survivor and author of A Rough Road

During the polio epidemic of 1940, I contracted polio and became ensconced for 19 months in a “reconstruction home” far from my family. I was only 4 years old, and since all the other children were at least twice my age, I was initially placed in a room by myself instead of one of the dormitories.

Enduring loneliness, painful treatments, and lengthy, frustrating rehabilitation sessions, I learned to overcome my fears and to prevail Continue reading

A response to the polio outbreak in Syria

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Bob Scott, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Polio was recently confirmed in Syria, a country that has been free of this disabling and potentially fatal disease since 1999. In response, health authorities in Syria and neighboring countries have launched urgent, large-scale, multi-country immunization campaigns to ensure that every child is reached with the polio vaccine.

Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are working together with local health authorities to activate the outbreak response. Continue reading

Remembering Jonas Salk on the anniversary of his birthday

Kurt Sipolski

Kurt Sipolski

By Kurt Sipolski, freelance writer, polio survivor, and resident of Palm Desert, California, USA 

Years ago, I founded and published a magazine for homeowners and designers, San Francisco Gentry magazine. 

It was easy to target advertisers. While homeowners don’t necessarily eat out more than renters, they sure as heck hire builders and landscapers more often.

One time, I called a fire contractor to sell him an ad. I had used him when an apartment in a building I owned caught fire. After refreshing his memory of who I was, he replied, “Oh, I  remember. You’re the cripple.”  Continue reading

Traveling to Nigeria to fight polio

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.

By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.

As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading

One drop away from a polio-free life

Ade Adepitan with other polio survivors in Nigeria.

Ade Adepitan with other polio survivors in Nigeria.

By Ade Adepitan, polio survivor, United Kingdom broadcaster, and former Paraylmpian.

I contracted polio at the age of 15 months while living in Lagos, Nigeria. I had been given two drops of the polio vaccine, but the virus caught me before I had the third and final drop which would have protected me for life. Continue reading

Polio eradication is the latest fashion trend in Brazil

130830_gabbyBy Gabriela Simionato Klein, public relations specialist

If you take a walk through the Iguatemi, a luxury shopping mall in São Paulo, you can expect to see prestigious brand-name garments from all over the world. But if you strolled through the mall in early August, you’d also have seen the familiar red, white and yellow of the End Polio Now logo on T-shirts in the display windows of Forum Tufi Duek.

The display coincided with a special party the Brazilian label hosted for top model Isabelli Fontana, one of the latest people to become a Rotary Ambassador for polio eradication. Continue reading

The power of Rotary on display in Africa

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

For three days in May, Rotarians from 365 clubs fanned out across Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa to help medical professionals and government workers provide free health services to 250,000 disadvantaged people.

Rotary Family Health Days, the third event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), was an incredible success! The program, initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, has always included other health care services. This year, we conducted polio and measles immunizations, dental and eye clinics, family counseling and screening for HIV, diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Continue reading

Surplus equipment saves lives

Rotarians in British Colombia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

Rotarians in British Columbia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

By Chris Offer, past governor of District 5040 (British Columbia, Canada)

There is something almost magical about loading an infant incubator, which has kept hundreds of newborn babies alive in Canada, on board a ship and knowing it will continue to help children in Chile.

I recently had the opportunity to load a 40-foot sea container with medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Iquique, Chile. Continue reading

Climbing Mount Blanc to fight hunger

Amelie Zegmout atop Toubkal Mountain in Morocco earlier this year. Photo courtesy Amelie Zegmout

Amelie Zegmout on top of Toubkal Mountain in Morocco earlier this year. Photo courtesy Amelie Zegmout

By Angeli Mendoza, a Rotary Peace Fellow and social media officer for the Asia office of the World Food Programme

Amelie Zegmout, a past vice-president of the Rotary Club of Jumeirah-Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is climbing Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, to support the work of the World Food Programme (WFP).

Amelie fell in love with mountains as a child, and discovered trekking for charity in 2003 when she climbed Kilimanjaro for a local non-governmental organization. This Ramadan, Amelia, who has lived in Dubai for 15 years, is challenging herself with a two-day “climb against hunger.” Continue reading

A tribute to a true hero of polio eradication

Ali Maow Maalin in 1977. Photo by John F. Wickett/WHO

Ali Maow Maalin in 1977. Photo by John F. Wickett/WHO

Editor’s note: Ali Maow Maalin, a district polio officer, passed away on 22 July in his home district of Merka, Somalia, due to a sudden illness. Below is a blog post by George R. Camp, a Rotary Foundation Cadre technical adviser and past governor of District 7230 (Bermuda and part of New York, USA), which appeared on our blog recently honoring Maalin.

Who are the true heroes of polio eradication?

Somalia, once polio-free, is again batting an outbreak of the virus. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 45 cases of polio in Somalia this year as of 9 July, nearly half the cases occurring worldwide in 2013. Continue reading