How Rotary members are fighting against polio

Together we can End Polio
Mark and Dave Anderson will be riding the trains in Sydney 24 October to raise awareness and funds for End Polio Now.

Rotary members have been at the center of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio for more than three decades. Rotary launched PolioPlus in 1985 and helped found the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. At that time, wild poliovirus paralyzed hundreds of children every day, with an estimated 350,000 polio cases across more than 125 countries in one year. Since then, cases have plummeted more than 99.9%, sparing more than 20 million people from paralysis.

But as recent polio detections have revealed, polio remains a threat everywhere as long as it exists anywhere. In the days and weeks leading up to World Polio Day, 24 October, Rotary members around the world are holding events to raise awareness of the need to End Polio Now. Below are a few of those efforts.

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Australian tandem bike ride raises awareness for polio eradication

Phil and Joyce Ogden set off from Perth
Phil and Joyce Ogden set out from Perth, Australia, on their ride across the Nullarbor Plain to raise money and awareness for Rotary’s polio eradication efforts.

By Phil and Joyce Ogden, Rotary Club of South Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

My wife Joyce and I enjoy tandem cycling. Two years ago, when I met somebody who had cycled the Nullarbor Plain in Australia, a seed was planted in the back of my mind that maybe this was a challenge for us to do in the future.

We are closer than ever to ending polio. We have reduced cases by 99.9% since 1988. With our partners, Rotary has immunized more than 2.5 billion children worldwide to end polio for good.  But we’re not there yet and we can’t afford to be complacent.

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From London to Lagos to build awareness for End Polio Now

Kunle Adeyanju and friend
Kunle Adeyanju, left, poises for a selfie with one of the many people he met on his motor ride from London to Lagos.

By Kunle Adeyanju, Rotary Club Ikoyi Metro A.M, Lagos, Nigeria

Nothing worth accomplishing has ever been achieved effortlessly. And this was certainly true of my amazing road trip from London to Lagos on my motorbike to raise awareness for End Polio Now and raise funds for Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio. The road trip passed through desert, freezing cold, stunning forest landscapes, and across some of the remotest part of the earth.

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Juicy apples deliver End Polio message

District 2530 officials hold apples with the special End Polio mark at their district conference.

By Motoaki Sagara, District 2530 Public Image & IT Committee Chair, Japan

How can we get more people to learn about Rotary’s polio eradication efforts? This is a question my district asked recently. It’s not easy to get the public’s attention. It’s even less so in Japan, where polio has not been circulating in the wild for some time.

Last year, District 2530, Fukushima, sold Fuji apples, a local product of Fukushima, with the word “END POLIO” marked on them. As a result, we were able to raise more than $3,000 for polio eradication. It was an innovative idea. But there was another reason I was interested in this project. Continue reading

Collect, contribute, connect to end polio

Stamp fundraiser

Employees from Myjob in Mauritius support the stamp fundraiser for polio eradication.

By Nurveen Ratty, Rotary Club of Floreal, Mauritius

As Rotarians, we pride ourselves in taking collective action to create lasting change. And our fight to eradicate polio is without a doubt one of our finest efforts. For World Polio Day on 24 October, my club wanted to plan something different. We wanted an activity where anyone could donate their time, their funds, and their voice simultaneously, regardless of where they were in the world. Continue reading