Local civic and government officials and representatives from ten Rotary clubs at the 2019 World Polio Day event. Photo by David Andrews
By David F. Andrews, three-time past president, Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, Ontario, Canada, and chair of District 7070’s Public Image Committee
After many years of celebrating World Polio Day with proclamations, updates from Rotary and health leaders, and flag-raising ceremonies, the 10 Rotary clubs in District 7070 (Ontario, Canada) took a different course in 2018. An in-person event held in a new global classroom and simultaneously streamed live is now serving as a great model as we approach holding our first World Polio Day live event in a COVID-19 world.
Afghan Youth Connect leads an assembly on polio eradication.
By Stephen R. Brown, past Rotary Foundation trustee
During a three-day period encompassing World Polio Day, 24 October, a group of students in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, conducted a polio awareness campaign that was able to reach many of their peers with the message about Rotary’s work to eradicate polio. While many clubs worldwide held activities around World Polio Day, this one was especially exciting to me because these students are part of a program known as Afghan Youth Connect (AYC) which I have been involved with since 2008. Continue reading
Steve Stirling. CEO of MAP International, with some of the medical supplies the organization provides to people in need worldwide.
Editors Note: Watch our Global Polio Update streamed live on World Polio Day, 24 October.
By Steve Stirling, a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, Georgia, USA
They are typical job interview questions: What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?
But in my case, the interviewer often hesitates. After all, how do you ask a guy who is wearing leg braces and using crutches about his greatest weakness? It seems both obvious and insensitive. Continue reading
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
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
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
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.”
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
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
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
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