Rotary members in Rochester are taking action on World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds, and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
At their October 25th weekly meeting, the Rotary Club of Rochester hosted Mayor Elaine Lauterborn who read the Proclamation of October 25 as World Polio Day in Rochester and President Jackie Fitzpatrick presented the latest worldwide information related to Polio. Member Tracey Hardekoff presented her memory of a friend who celebrated life after contracting polio and being paralyzed on his dominant side. This gentleman achieved career success and recognition as an artist making him a survivor who is clearly memorable. His artwork was viewed via an electronic presentation and an anonymous matching donation for this gentleman in the amount of $100 was acknowledged.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. We’ve made great progress against the disease since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. And we remain committed to the end.
With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million.
President Fitzpatrick noted that the meeting was informative and brought out many memories shared by the older members who experienced the fear of contracting polio during the pandemic and also the process of all being immunized.
Rotary has contributed more than $2.2 billion to ending polio since 1985, including annual donations by the Rotary Club of Rochester. During the World Polio Day meeting, an additional $364 was raised via ‘Polio Dollars’ donated by members and the matching donation and has been submitted to the Rotary polio fund.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who unite and take action to create lasting change in communities around the globe. For more than 115 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to improve lives through service. From promoting literacy and peace to providing clean water and improving health care, Rotary members are always working to better the world. Visit endpolio.org to learn more about Rotary and the fight to eradicate polio.