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.
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
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
On 19 November, Rotary staff joined Rotary members from District 5500 (Arizona, USA) and around the world in El Tour de Tucson, one of the premier organized fundraising rides in the United States. This year’s staff team met the challenge head on, completing 104-miles in good spirits and with only one flat tire. Continue reading
Dave Stumpf and Christian Pepera during a training ride at the Wisconsin border.
By Christian Pepera, Rotary staff
In true Rotary fashion, my training for the Miles to End Polio ride has been an international affair. During the last three months, I have logged more than 700 miles. By the time we reach Tucson, I will have pedaled my way through five U.S. states (Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin), along the shores of two Great Lakes (Michigan and Ontario) and in three countries (Canada, Spain, and the US). Continue reading
Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.
By Jose Zambrano, Rotary staff
It’s been almost two months since I started my training as part of the Miles to End Polio team. I can honestly say training for El Tour of Tucson has pushed me to my limits, but has also been an unbelievable experience.
Although I love outdoor activities, and am a very active person, my longest previous ride had been 40 miles. So trying to accomplish 104 miles is a huge challenge for me. Continue reading
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
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
By 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