Rotarians participate in the El Tour de Tucson in Arizona, USA, in 2016.
By Gary Hirsch, a member of the Rotary Club of Tucson, Arizona, USA
Roughly 10 years ago, Rotarian Michael J. Harris of the Casas Adobes Rotary was debating ways to help small Rotary clubs take advantage of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2:1 match for contributions to PolioPlus. For some time, Mike had also lobbied Perimeter Bicycling to allow Rotary to field a team in El Tour de Tucson as one of the ride’s “beneficiaries.” He thought that would be a great opportunity for clubs large or small. Mike could not have imagined what his pet project would become. Or, knowing Mike, maybe he could. Continue reading
By Arnold R. Grahl
From riding the rails in Sydney, Australia, to crossing mountain paths on the way to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru, members of Rotary have been coming up with creative ways to raise money and awareness for polio eradication leading up to World Polio Day 24 October.
Already, clubs and individuals have listed more than 1,600 events on Endpolio.org. Promote your event and mark your calendar to watch the livestream of Rotary’s World Polio Day event at 18:30 Philadelphia time (UTC-4) on 24 October.
Here are just a few of the events Rotarians have planned or held: Continue reading
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
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
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