Crossing the finish line in the Ride to End Polio

Gary Hirsch before the start of the Ride to End Polio in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska

By Gary Hirsch, a member of the Rotary Club of Tucson, Arizona, and an organizer of the Ride to End Polio

Being a cyclist, I didn’t think much in advance about completing the 111 miles of El Tour de Tucson for the 2012 Ride to End Polio. The 111 miles is a big haul, but not as big as planning an event like this.

The ride began for our planning committee back in March. District Governor Randy Brooks set an audacious goal of raising US$200,000. I didn’t think we’d make it, but then I didn’t think we would make last year’s $100,000 goal, which we did. Once again, I was unnecessarily pessimistic, so far we have raised more than $375,000. Continue reading

Join us in celebrating World Polio Day

By Amanda Peet, actress and vaccine ambassador for Every Child By Two

Today is World Polio Day. To most Americans this day of observance will quietly slip under the radar; and understandably so. Here in America, our children are protected from this horrible disease, which prior to the development of a polio vaccine in 1955, paralyzed up to 20,000 and killed nearly 1,000 of our citizens each year. Most of the victims who survived polio were young children, many who remained in iron lungs for a lifetime. Today, polio remains endemic in only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) and in 2011, less than 700 cases were reported. This is a reduction of more than 99 percent since 1985. Continue reading

Polio survivor’s book reveals the trials of a polio mom

Kurt Sipolski

By Kurt Sipolski, freelance writer and resident of Palm Desert, California, USA

As World Polio Day approaches 24 October, I would bet most Americans thinking about polio have a hazy recollection of a long-dead U.S. president in a wheelchair, or else they have images of a more recent portrayal of a polio survivor such as the one in the new movie, The Sessions.

But for survivors like me, and for all the Rotarians and their polio eradication partners battling to finally eradicate the disease from the world, the day is a time for memory and unity. Continue reading

A polio survivor’s “aha” moment

John Nanni at the UN General Assembly special session to “Unite Against Polio” 27 September.

By John Nanni, a member of the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, USA

As a polio survivor who was paralyzed from my neck down for six months, and as a Rotarian, I had the honor of being a part of the Rotary PolioPlus delegation to the UN General Assembly special session to “Unite Against Polio” on 27 September.

My day started early – I was so excited and nervous I couldn’t sleep. I was worried about being a good representative of our club and of the more than 20 million polio survivors. Continue reading

The dictionary, warm coat handshake

Harriet “Pepi” Noble

By Harriet “Pepi” Noble, a member of the Rotary Club of Mechanicville, New York, USA

There’s something about the nip in October’s air that gets me to thinking about two of my favorite organizations: The Dictionary Project and Operation Warm. With much in common including dedication to their core values, environmental concerns and furthering the health and education of children, I love telling their stories. Continue reading

Taking big bites out of polio in the Big Apple

Ramesh Ferris (right) meets with Neil Young, also a polio survivor, during the Global Citizen Festival.

By Ramesh Ferris, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

In late September, I traveled to New York City to attend two events to promote global polio eradication. To say my weekend in the Big Apple was amazing would be an understatement.

Consider these memories: Joining Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, and others in sharing the urgency of polio eradication with world leaders assembled for the UN General Assembly during a special side session on polio. Continue reading

Rockin’ in a Polio-Free World!

Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, Canadian Rotarian Ramesh Ferris, and RI General Secretary John Hewko make the “This Close” sign before the concert begins. Photo by Marga Hewko

By RI General Secretary John Hewko

What a momentous week it has been for Rotary and polio eradication in the Big Apple.

As you know, on 27 September Rotary participated in a historic session on polio eradication convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the 67th UN General Assembly. You can watch the entire session here, and view additional photos here. Continue reading

Progress in the war against polio continues


Salvatore Alesci

By Salvatore Alesci, MD, PHD, vice president of scientific affairs for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Earlier this year, India reported that it had gone a full year without seeing a new case of polio. India’s success represents a significant and important step forward in the battle to eradicate polio. Continue reading

UN event inspires: We are committed to ending polio

Tom Rudy, president of the Rotary Club of Wall Street New York; John Germ, Vice Chair of the International PolioPlus Committee; and Joe Clark, past governor of District 7230, at the UN General Assembly side event.

By Joe Clark, past governor of District 7230 (Bermuda, part of New York, USA)

Yesterday, two Rotarians who are polio survivors, a past district governor who had just returned from a Subnational Immunization Day in Pakistan, and I attended the United Nations General Assembly side event where world leaders, Rotarians, and global polio eradication partners met to voice their commitment to ending polio.

I have been a Rotarian for over 34 years, but this was one of those “wow” moments. Continue reading

Promoting Rotary through Facebook ads

One of the top performing Facebook ads for Rotary District 6440.

Rich Lalley, Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield, Rotary District 6440 Club Service Advisor and Webmaster, for social media week

Whether or not you’re active on social media you understand that the nature of communication is undergoing a revolution. If they were a country, Facebook’s 955 million active users would be the world’s third largest, only behind China and India.

For this reason alone, Facebook offers Rotarians a terrific platform to promote Rotary and spread the word about our great service organization. Continue reading