The reasons I ride for polio eradication

The Asia Team behind Masa Kato

The Asia Team supports Masa Kato, third from right, who is part of the Miles to End Polio team.

Masa Kato is a global communications specialist at Rotary International. He is one of six Rotary staff members who will join Rotary General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona 23 November to raise money for polio eradication.

By Masa Kato

The six staff members who will be riding in El Tour de Tucson later this month all have different personal reasons for being part of the Miles to End Polio Team. But we all have one thing in common, a desire to help Rotary’s effort to eradicate polio. My main objective in riding is likewise to support our top priority of ridding the world of this disease. But I have two other personal reasons. Continue reading

Getting out from behind my desk, pedaling to end polio

Kris Tsau is an advocacy specialist at Rotary International. She is one of six Rotary staff members who will join Rotary General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona 23 November to raise money for polio eradication.

Kris Tsau

Kris Tsau, part of the Miles to End Polio team, on a training ride.

By Kris Tsau

As a PolioPlus staff member, I’ve been working toward a polio free world for over 20 years. The vast majority of that work happens at a desk behind a computer screen or on a telephone. I have often joked that I’m eradicating polio one email at a time.

Joining the Miles to End Polio Team has been a great way to get out from behind my desk to pay tribute, in a very physical way, to the dedicated men and women who work on this global effort and especially, the front-line health Continue reading

Looking back at 10 years of riding to end polio

El Tour de Tucson

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

Can you top these creative polio fundraisers?

 

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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

What excites me about Miles to End Polio

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

Ready to ride for more

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

That’s a nice flower, what’s it for?

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

Photos from the 2016 Ride to End Polio

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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

Pedaling for polio in three countries

Dave Stumpf and Christian Pepera during a training ride at the Wisconsin border.

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

Pushed to the limit, for a good cause

Jose Zambrano on a recent training ride.

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