Local rotary club accepts challenge to eradicate polio 

The Rotary Club of College Park is determined to eradicate polio — the paralyzing, life-altering virus on the verge of becoming the second human disease ever to be eliminated. 

At the 2017 International Rotary Convention in Atlanta, Rotary International committed to raise $50 million per year over the next three years, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to match each dollar raised with two additional dollars — for a full $450 million — toward eliminating the polio virus. 

This fall, Susan Sackett, president of The Rotary Club of College Park, announced local acceptance of the “End Polio Now” challenge. Within 48 hours of that October 26 meeting, members committed to donating more than $3,000. Matching funds from the Clova Rogers Trust and the Gates Foundation will raise this amount to more than $18,000 earmarked toward the fight against polio. 

“The vision of eradicating polio began with Rotary, and its support of that effort has been unwavering,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. 

The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. Through the public-private partnership of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent from about 350,000 cases a year in the mid-1980s to just 37 cases in 2016 and (as of October 4) only 11 cases worldwide in 2017. 

However, unless the world stays polio-free at least three years, the virus will likely return. 

This critical fundraising will help ensure countries around the world remain polio-free and that polio is ended in the remaining three endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. 

You can help by donating to The Rotary Club of College Park Foundation (P.O. Box 540000, Orlando, FL 32854) or directly to The Rotary Foundation at rotary.org. (The local club requests that direct donations please mention The Rotary Club of College Park.). These contributions will qualify for the Gates Foundation’s matching grant. 

To learn more about the Global Polio Eradication Initiative or what Rotary does locally and globally, attend a meeting of The Rotary Club of College Park, held Thursdays 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. at Dubsdread Country Club Ballroom or visit the website. 

 

Submitted by The Rotary Club of College Park 

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