Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary marks World Polio Day Oct. 24
On October 24, members of Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary will join Rotarians around the world in marking World Polio Day. This is a time to celebrate the historic progress towards a polio-free world as well as the need to continue the efforts to eliminate this paralyzing disease.
As part of its activities to mark World Polio Day 2020, Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary was very pleased to welcome local community leader and childhood polio survivor, Karin Penner, as their guest speaker at their October 20 Zoom meeting.
Karin shared her personal journey of surviving childhood polio in small-town Cranbrook, in the early 1950s. Karin’s heartfelt story was a testament to the courage, ingenuity, and resilience of Karin and her family, and it reinforced the need for Rotarians to continue their work to eradicate polio.
Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary supports the global efforts to eradicate polio in several ways, including the restoration and use of an iron lung (left) as an educational tool. In addition, several Cranbrook Sunrise Rotarians have travelled internationally to personally assist in administering the oral polio vaccine.
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. Rotary and its partners have made great progress against the disease since then, including the recent announcement that Africa has been officially declared as polio-free. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9%, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. Rotary remains 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.
Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to ending polio since 1985, including on-going donations from local Rotarians.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who unite and take action to create lasting change in communities around the globe. For more than 110 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.
Above images: Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary members provide vaccinations in India. Photos submitted