World Po­lio Day Oct. 24

Events tak­ing place in Oril­lia and Washago to aid erad­i­ca­tion ef­forts

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - LIFE - SUB­MIT­TED

World Po­lio Day is be­ing rec­og­nized around the world Oct. 24.

World Po­lio Day will raise funds and aware­ness for the fight to against this dis­ease, which at one time threat­ened chil­dren around the world. To­day, it is close to be­ing erad­i­cated. Ro­tary has been a part of this progress and will re­main in­volved un­til no one is at risk from this crip­pling dis­ease. Lo­cal Ro­tary clubs in­vite res­i­dents to join them and show sup­port.

On Oct. 24, there will be walks in com­mu­ni­ties around the world to pro­mote World Po­lio Day, in­clud­ing events hosted by the the Ro­tary Club of Oril­lia (walk­ing from the Best Western Mari­posa Inn, leav­ing at 5 p.m.) and the Ro­tary Club of Washago (walk­ing from the Washago Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, leav­ing at 5 p.m.).

Both walks are a part of Ro­tary’s 27-year mis­sion to erad­i­cate po­lio. Pre-regis­tra­tion is not re­quired.

In hon­our of this day, the Ro­tary Club of Oril­lia will also do­nate $5,000 to Ro­tary’s Po­lio pro­gram. Th­ese funds will be matched twoto-one by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion, re­sult­ing in a $15,000 con­tri­bu­tion to Po­lio Plus.

“Our club has al­ways sup­ported this ini­tia­tive, and this year we are glad to do more. We have come a very long way and we know that we are ‘this close’ to erad­i­cat­ing po­lio. But to be suc­cess­ful, we can­not let down our guard. Un­til we reach zero cases, all chil­dren re­main at risk,” said Anne Zei­gler, pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Oril­lia.

When Ro­tary started this ini­tia­tive in 1985, there were 350,000 cases of po­lio per year. In 2016, there were 36 cases — a 99.9% de­crease. Since 1985, Ro­tary has con­trib­uted nearly $1.2 bil­lion and count­less vol­un­teer hours to the pro­tec­tion of more than two bil­lion chil­dren in 122 coun­tries. The dis­ease re­mains en­demic in three coun­tries — Afghanistan, Nige­ria and Pak­istan. How­ever, un­til the goal of zero cases is reached, all chil­dren re­main at risk.

The mes­sage to world lead­ers is clear: Sup­port the fi­nal push to achieve erad­i­ca­tion now while the goal has never been closer, or face the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of a new po­lio pan­demic that could dis­able mil­lions of chil­dren within a decade.

Candy Pot­ter, pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Washago, hopes ev­ery­one in Washago will join in this walk.

“This is a cause that mat­ters to ev­ery­one,” she said. “By join­ing us on Oct. 24, you show your sup­port for the con­tin­ued fight to en­sure that no child is ever af­fected by this dis­ease again.”

Po­lio is a highly in­fec­tious dis­ease that causes paral­y­sis and can be fa­tal. As there is no cure, the best pro­tec­tion is preven­tion. For as lit­tle as US60 cents’ worth of vac­cine, a child can be pro­tected against the dis­ease for life. Af­ter an in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment of more than US$9 bil­lion, and the suc­cess­ful en­gage­ment of more than 200 coun­tries and 20 mil­lion vol­un­teers, po­lio could be the first hu­man dis­ease of the 21st cen­tury to be erad­i­cated.

Po­lio erad­i­ca­tion is spear­headed by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional, the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, and the United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund. It in­cludes the sup­port of gov­ern­ments and other pri­vate-sec­tor donors.

SUB­MIT­TED

Lo­cal artist Brian Tosh com­pleted a paint­ing of the Snow­birds fly­ing over the Oril­lia Opera House. He had it signed by the pi­lots and he do­nated half of the sale of the paint­ing ($700) to the Oril­lia branch of the On­tario So­ci­ety for the Preven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (OSPCA). It was an idea Tosh had about five years ago, when he painted the Snow­birds fly­ing over the Is­land Princess and, at that time, do­nated half of the pro­ceeds to the OSPCA.

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