The Tualatin Rotary Club loves a challenge. When former president Jeff Smith proposed scholarships for first-generation Tualatin High School students; Rotary made it happen. When Family Promise needed a partner to create a homeless day center; Rotary Club stepped up with funds to furnish the entire building. So, it is not surprising that the Tualatin Rotary Club has participated in the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. A task that was deemed “impossible” is now so close to a successful outcome.
For over 30 years, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has been working to rid the world of this crippling disease. So far, they have reduced the spread of polio by 99.9%. More than 2.5 billion children have been immunized in 122 countries. There are only three countries in the world that have seen polio outbreaks; Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. A disease that paralyzed over 200,00 children a year is now close to elimination.
Getting to zero is not an easy task. Global health workers and volunteers must travel to extremely remote villages to immunize every child. Researchers must work constantly to examine and monitor sanitation facilities worldwide. Where sanitation systems are not in place, they monitor rivers and streams for evidence of the disease. These must-do actions are costly and time-consuming. Rotary, in coordination with UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested money and far-reaching efforts to get the job done. Rotary has funded 145 polio labs around the world. Steven Cochi, a senior director at the CDC has stated, “It costs real money to keep that network operational, and this lab network is the most highly sophisticated, state of the art infectious-disease network in the world. Rotarians should be proud of that. It’s the NO. 1 network, bar none.”
Rotary International must raise $1.5 billion dollars to finish the job. Rotary Clubs around the world will participate. Tualatin Rotary Club is sponsoring an event, Pancakes for Polio. It will be held at the Izumi Restaurant in Tualatin on Saturday, October 26th. Everyone is invited to attend the fundraiser from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Your attendance will help ease the suffering caused by this disease. Rotary will not rest until elimination has been achieved. But you can rest assured that your pancake breakfast will be filling and add to the fulfillment of a promise. Join with your Tualatin Rotary Club to conquer the impossible at www.tualatinrotary.org.