World Polio Day inspires push to end the disease
Rotarians stream across the Bosporus bridge, which connects Europe and Asia, as part of the Eurasia Marathon in Istanbul 17 October. The event raised about $8,000 for polio eradication. Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Istanbul-Yenikoy
R otarians walked, ran, and sold everything from hot dogs to flower bulbs to celebrate World Polio Day, 24 October, in support of the global effort to eradicate the disease.
Led by RI President Ray Klinginsmith, an estimated 3,000 Rotarians and supporters walked along San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront on World Polio Day. The walk culminated in the illumination of the Ferry Building with the words "End Polio Now."
In the Netherlands, Rotary clubs launched a national polio eradication fundraising and awareness campaign, with the goal of netting US$2.5 million for PolioPlus.
Rotarians in District 7230 (Bermuda; part of New York, USA) sponsored World Polio Week in Bermuda with Purple Pinkie Day fundraisers and a dinner in recognition of Past District Governor Walter Maddocks, the first director of the PolioPlus fundraising campaign.
In Kentucky, USA, Rotary clubs partnered with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, held from 25 September to 10 October, in support of Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge and The Rotary Foundation’s Annual Programs Fund . Through an agreement with the concession company for the games, a volunteer force of more than 2,000 Rotarians, family members, and friends sold food and refreshments, with a percentage of the profits going to the two causes. Equestrian athletes from 58 countries participated in the event, which drew more than 500,000 people. “We were very busy the entire time, but it wasn’t a burden,” says Sara Callaway, a member of the Rotary Club of Frankfort. “I like to do volunteer work for things I believe in.”
An estimated 460 Rotarians and friends ran and walked the Eurasia Marathon in Istanbul on 17 October, raising about US $8,000. The race course included the Bosporus Bridge, which connects Europe and Asia.
On 11 November, Hong Kong Rotarians will hold their annual 10K race for elite and recreational runners and a 3K race for children.
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland has partnered with the Eden Project in England and the International Flower Bulb Centre in the Netherlands to sell and plant 4.6 million crocus bulbs across the United Kingdom and Ireland. The effort is part of RIBI’s Thanks for Life project, which raises funds for polio eradication and awareness about the disease.
“The color purple is a vibrant [element], as purple dye is used to mark children’s fingers after immunization against polio,” says Alan Wilding, president of the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. “The bulbs we plant in October will flower in time to mark Rotary’s birthday on 23 February,” which will also coincide with End Polio Now lightings and events around the world.