Gary Hirsch and Marga Hewko, wife of Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, take a selfie during the ride.
By Gary Hirsch, a member of the Rotary Club of Tucson, Arizona, USA
In many ways, the 2015 Ride to End Polio by Rotarians in District 5500 was “The Big Ride.” Maybe it’s that Rotary members’ commitment grows each year. Maybe it’s just that the fellowship, fun, fitness, and collaborative spirit bring out the best in each of us. Whatever it is, the numbers say that this, the sixth year of our event, was the biggest in every way.
Although overall ridership in El Tour de
Tucson was down about 7,000 cyclists Continue reading
Kristin Brown, center, her husband, Mahmoud Ajamia, — who will also be riding in Tucson — and Marga Hewko at the bottom of a steep hill on a recent training ride.
By Kristin Brown
I am really excited to be returning to Tucson, Arizona, USA, this week for my second Miles to End Polio event and to join forces with the Rotarians cycling so that others may walk.
It has been an eventful year in the fight to End Polio Now. Nigeria achieved a milestone in July when it passed an entire year without a new case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus. And cases in the two remaining endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are at an all-time low. But now more than ever, we need to keep the pressure on. One of my biggest concerns is that people will become complacent and fail to recognize the threat that remains if we don’t completely eradicate this disease. Continue reading
By Jean Stanula
When I was a kid, it seemed like “making a difference” was easy. I can recall asking for pledges for Jump Rope for Heart to raise money for the American Heart Association, and carrying a fish food jar converted into a donation canister around the neighborhood to collect nickels to help the American Cancer Society find a cure. I had a natural desire to give to others. Continue reading
Scott Daniels on a training ride.
By Scott Daniels
What I remember most is the fear. I was too small to recall all the details, but when I was a child, polio struck the eastern Iowa community where I grew up.
When it hit, people took action. Parents kept their kids at home. The swimming pool shut down. You couldn’t play with the neighbor kids. One of our family friend’s kids contracted the disease. I can vividly remember parents and teachers being concerned about transmission of the virus.
There was no debate in my family over whether or not to vaccinate. You either did or you ran the risk of contracting the disease. We are blessed in the United States to Continue reading
By Naish Shah
My two cousins had polio, and they passed away before they reached adulthood. My brother, my sister, and I were fortunate to have been born here in Chicago, so we received the polio vaccine that my cousins in India never got. This has made me passionate about doing whatever I can to help eradicate this horrible disease.
I rode with the Miles to End Polio team last year. Continue reading
Lindsay Griswold and her students at the Gede Special School in Kenya.
By Lindsay Griswold
My passion for working with youth at an international level first blossomed during my time with the Peace Corps in Kenya. I served as a Deaf education volunteer from 2006 to 2008 at Gede Special School in Coast Province.
While I was not aware then of the significance Rotary would later have in my life, the school was built by the Rotary Club of Malindi, Kenya, a few months before my arrival. Gede serves not only students who Continue reading
By Norah Webster, Rotary staff
I love riding my bike. I don’t own a car, so I ride for transportation. I also ride for exercise, to explore, and to spend time with friends. My bike has allowed me to see parts of Chicago and surrounding communities that people never see from the highway.
As long as I’ve been riding, I’ve been raising funds, too — from pedaling around my hometown of Galena, Illinois, for children’s cancer research when I was 9, to raising Continue reading
Last year’s team mugs for the camera.
By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary
On 21 November, Rotary staff members and I will join Arizona Rotary members to bike up to 104 miles in El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for polio eradication.
The event is one of the top cycling events in the U.S., attracting more than 9,000 cyclists each year. We are aiming to raise $3.4 million, which will be tripled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of more than $10 million for the fight to end polio. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: This post, first published in July, has been revised to reflect the new milestone reached in our fight to eradicate polio, and to celebrate Membership and New Club Development Month. Rotary members have many opportunities to make a difference, including being part of history as we seek a polio-free world. Rotary members have led the way in fundraising, advocacy, and lining up volunteer support for polio eradication.
By Michael McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee
Africa has now marked a full year with no new cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus anywhere on the continent.
This is the longest the continent has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way; it was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa – three-quarters of all cases in the world. Continue reading
Mohammed Ishak, Rotary Club of Jalalabad, holds the torch during a joint event with the Rotary Club of Kabul City. Luke Beer, author of this post, is second from right in back.
By Luke Beer, president of the Rotary Club of Kabul City, Afghanistan
As some of you know, a Rotary “flame” was launched in December in Chennai, India, to commemorate India becoming polio-free and to promote the need to go the last mile in the battle to eradicate this horrible crippling disease. The torch has made its way through several countries already, and will pass through all three polio endemic countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria – before arriving at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo 6-9 June.
I want to share with you just how inspiring it was to be part of the flame’s journey. As an Afghan club, we are so grateful for the energy it has given us as a club to refocus our efforts on polio awareness, working alongside the Rotary Club of Jalalabad. Continue reading