Watch our World Polio Day livestream event

By Rotary staff

Polio is no longer the menace it once was in many parts of the world. But until it is eradicated everywhere, it is still a threat to people anywhere. To find out where we are at in our effort to rid the world of this crippling disease, tune in to our World Polio Day livestream event at 14:30 PDT (UTC-7) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle. Continue reading

My dad’s battle with polio

Michelle Provan and her dad, Robert, who died in 2006 from pulmonary complications stemming from postpolio syndrome.

By Michelle Provan

During the 1950s, shortly after World War II, polio had a rampant outbreak in Chicago. I remember my dad, Robert Provan, telling the story of how he went to play at Evergreen Park, taking a sip of cool water from a drinking fountain, and believing that is where he caught the deadly disease at age five.

He was diagnosed with the worst type of polio. It instantly affected his entire body, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. He also spent time in an iron lung. My grandparents tried a couple of specialists to no avail. In fact, they were told to institutionalize him, a practice that was common during this time. They were told, “He is a burden to the family, and he belongs in an institute. Just let him die.” Continue reading

Overcoming obstacles to polio eradication in Pakistan

A Rotary volunteer administers polio drops to a child missed by earlier rounds in Pakistan.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

By Alina A. Visram, manager, Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee

When I first joined Pakistan’s PolioPlus Committee (PNPPC) as a manager close to eight years ago, polio eradication seemed within our reach. I used the opportunity to study poliomyelitis beyond just perceiving it as “a crippling disease.” I researched the causes and consequences; the types of polio virus; modes of prevention; and how elusive the virus can be given the right conditions. Continue reading

Polio eradication: when the impossible becomes possible

Night at the Park attendees learn about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.

By Jim Ferguson, governor-elect of District 7550 (West Virginia, USA)

Why did I become a Rotarian? Was it fellowship, networking, building a resume, or some other reason?  For me it was about the chance to add purpose to my life and make a difference. And eradicating polio is very important to me.

My amazing mother had polio and I witnessed firsthand how it affected her life. Despite her disability she raised 9 children during some very rough times. Continue reading

Financing polio eradication and development in Nigeria

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

A Canadian Rotarian immunizes a young girl against polio in Katsina, Nigeria. Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux

By Quentin Wodon, president, Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA

As a lead economist at the World Bank, it has been exciting to see my organization step up to the plate and commit resources to the fight to eradicate polio, as we observe World Polio Day.

While the World Bank is not one of the spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the organization does work closely with the GPEI, of which Rotary is a leading partner, as well as country governments to provide financing to help end polio. Continue reading

I thought I’d never walk again

: Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

Nancy Wright Beasley, who wrote The Little Lion, sits on one of the motorcycles used in the stage adaptation of her book during rehearsal at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Photo by Clement Britt

By Nancy Wright Beasley, a polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Brandermill, Virginia, USA

I thought I’d never walk again, but I did.

I thought I’d never talk about polio either, but I’ve regularly shared my childhood memories of the disease since joining the Rotary Club of Brandermill in 2005. I had been  invited to speak about my first book, Izzy’s Fire. That’s where I first learned about PolioPlus, and decided — that day — to join Rotary International’s fight to eradicate the disease. I often say that I’m the only speaker who gave a speech then never left.

I contracted polio in the summer of 1952, in the middle of one of the worst epidemics in U.S. history. Continue reading

The face of polio immunization in Pakistan

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By Rotary Voices staff

Nigeria’s last case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus was reported on 24 July 2014, and the African continent has had no reported cases since 11 August 2014. The World Health Organization (WHO) removed Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries on 25 September. When Nigeria and every country in Africa have gone three years without a case of polio, WHO will certify the region as polio-free. Continue reading

Voices of polio survivors

Ann Lee Hussey administers polio drops to a child in Chad in 2013.

Ann Lee Hussey administers polio drops to a child in Chad in 2014.

By Rotary Voices staff

Stories from polio survivors remind us why we have spent three decades committed to the pursuit of wiping this crippling disease from the face of the earth. Below is a brief summary and a link to a few of those stories shared on Rotary Voices and elsewhere. Also watch our World Polio Day global update to see how close we are to ending polio.

Ann Lee Hussey contracted polio when she was 17 months old. A member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA, she has taken part in countless National Immunization Day Continue reading

Life is hard enough without having to deal with polio

Ethiopian children watch the immunization volunteers.

Ethiopian children watch the immunization volunteers.

By Corinne Cavanaugh

As I walked up to a pile of dirt bricks beside a cottage in a small village in Ethiopia, I noticed two things immediately: the telltale odor of farming and the mouth sores of four small children. I will never forget the moment I saw those children, the first of many who received two life-saving drops of polio vaccine.

Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis, usually of the legs. In a developing country, polio paralysis could mean crawling around Continue reading

Photos of World Polio Day events

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Rotary Voices staff

From the opening of a polio exhibit at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to the illumination of the Mohatta Palace in Karachi, Pakistan, Rotary members celebrated World Polio Day, observed 24 October, in a variety of ways. Here is a gallery of photos from different events. Submit yours to blog@rotary.org