The Rotary Club of Woodstock recently placed signage at the corner of Queen and Main Streets to draw attention to the Rotary Foundation’s campaign to ‘END POLIO NOW.’

Rotary Club of Woodstock

We wanted the sign up well in advance of World Polio Day,” said END POLIO NOW Committee Chair Gary Stewart. “World Polio Day, which takes place on October 24th this year, seeks to create awareness of the crucial importance of freeing the world from polio.”

“Polio was rampant in New Brunswick sixty years ago, but the last case was seen in Canada many years ago. So, we have two generations of people who have little or no idea what a horrible, crippling disease polio is. To raise awareness, our club will be conducting our educational and fundraising Purple Pinkie Program in two local schools in the period around World Polio Day,” Stewart said.

Rotary has been a lead partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for over 30 years and Rotarians have contributed more than $1.5 billion through the  Rotary Foundation in addition to countless hours of volunteer time. Thanks in large part to Rotary’s efforts, the world is now 99.9% polio free.

The number of children crippled by polio has fallen from almost 500,000 in 1985 to under 25 in just 3 countries: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2016. This could be the year when the world sees its last case of polio.

But even if the last case is recorded this year, it will take three years to ensure that the last case is really the final one. As long as polio exists somewhere, there could easily be an outbreak affecting other places as the virus can easily skip borders. Hundreds of millions of children will need to be vaccinated every year until the world is certified polio free. The price tag is estimated at $1.5 billion which will need to be funded by governments and donors such as Rotary.

Rotary and its partners are so close to ending polio, but your help is needed. Canadians get a great return on their polio donation. Each $1 donated will be matched by $2 from the Government of Canada and $2 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so the $1 becomes $5.

For further information on Rotary’s campaign to free the world from polio or to donate, please go to www.endpolionow.org

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