World Polio Day is on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and the Rotary Club of White Rock - the oldest of the five clubs on the Peninsula - is calling on everyone to contribute to the The Pennies and More for Polio Initiative as part of Rotary's 27-year mission to eradicate this crippling childhood disease worldwide.
Polio is a highly infectious disease that causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal.
As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.
There are only three countries where the wild poliovirus has never been stopped: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Experts say that if we don't end it now, the disease could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years and, through travel, could spread again into countries that are now polio-free.
This Rotary project is supported by the government of Canada which will, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), provide funds to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at a ratio of $1 for every $1 raised by Rotarians and their supporters in Canada, up to a maximum of $1 million. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will likewise provide funds of equal value, at a ratio of $1 for every $1 raised by Rotarians and their supporters in Canada.
"Since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than $1 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries," says Jaqui Joys, president of Rotary Club of White Rock. "We are continuing to raise funds and want to stress that polio anywhere is a risk to children everywhere."
"Once a child is infected with polio, it never goes away and revisits them in later life with crippling results," added Joys.
"There are people living in White Rock who survived polio in the 1950s but are now suffering every day."
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world.
To support the polio eradication initiative, visit www.endpolio.org and clicking on the 'Donate' tab at the top.