By Theresa Takacs
On Oct. 24, the Rotary Club of Ashcroft-Cache Creek marked historic progress toward a polio-free world, and the community came out to help eliminate this paralyzing disease. The event was among thousands held by Rotary clubs across the globe to mark World Polio Day.
Rotary members in Ashcroft and Cache Creek were among millions reaching out to raise awareness of, and funds and support to end, polio: a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
About 30 Rotarians and community members attended “The World’s Greatest Meal to End Polio” at the River Inn in Ashcroft on the evening of Oct. 24 to mark World Polio Day, and a total of $405 was raised. Those donations will be matched two-for-one by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for a total of $1,215: enough to immunize 2,025 children who would otherwise be vulnerable to this horrible disease.
Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to just 22 cases in 2017.
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million per year in support of global polio eradication efforts.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s worldwide commitment to eradicate polio 2:1.
Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.
“We are so grateful to the people who attended our event to help us with this valuable cause,” says Ashcroft-Cache Creek Rotary president Theresa Takacs.
“We’re also grateful to the owner and staff of the River Inn Restaurant, who prepared ‘The World’s Greatest Meal’ for us all to enjoy. The citizens of Ashcroft and Cache Creek can be very proud of their contribution.”
Rotary has contributed more than US$1.8 billion to ending polio since 1985. All the funds raised are as a result of local initiatives combining their seemingly small contributions into one world-wide initiative.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Locally, the Rotary Club of Ashcroft -Cache Creek recognizes Citizens of the Year.
Visit www.endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its worldwide, ongoing efforts to eradicate polio.