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2020 a big years for Rotary clubs worldwide

As part of a year-long celebration to mark its 115th anniversary on Feb. 23, and 35 years of working towards the eradication of polio, 2020 is an ambitious year for Rotary.

Clubs worldwide are holding events, and raising funds and awareness needed to eradicate the paralyzing and potentially fatal disease once and for all.

The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and its members will have contributed more than  $2,500 this Rotary year (July 2019 to June 2020) towards polio eradication efforts. The money has come from fundraising events like the Annual Rotary Reverse Draw, Dinner & Silent Auction, scheduled this year for May 7 at the Oshawa Golf Club, as well as from many personal donations by local Rotary Club members.

Instead of giving guest speakers at the weekly Rotary meetings a gift, the club thanks each guest speaker by making this annual donation to PolioPlus.

These donations from the club and its members follow a succession of significant developments that have brought the world closer to eradicating one of the most devastating illnesses in the history of mankind.

Rotary launched its flagship PolioPlus program in 1985, and in 1988, became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the global initiative began more than 30 years ago, polio cases have plummeted by more than 99 per cent from about 350,000 cases a year in 1988 to just under 200 in 2019 (with these cases occurring in just Afghanistan and Pakistan)

Today, more than 16 million people who would otherwise have been paralysed, are able to walk. An estimated 1.5 million childhood deaths have been prevented through the systematic administration of vitamin A during polio immunization activities.

A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal. As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention.

For as little as 60 cents (US) worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.

After the successful engagement of more than 200 countries and 20 million volunteers administering polio vaccines and other life-saving medicines to more than 400 million children worldwide every year, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.

Rotary’s main responsibilities are fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer recruitment.

Two members of Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood traveled to India in 2016 at their own expense, and administered polio vaccine to local children, to ensure that polio never returns to the country. This is essentially Rotary’s birthday present from Oshawa-Parkwood Rotarians to the children of India.

Through PolioPlus, Rotary has contributed more than $1.7 billion in support, along with securing an additional $7.2 billion from governments to help immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio.

Most recently, every dollar Rotary contributes to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one (up to $50 million per year) by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is so important to generate the funds needed to end polio now. To fail is to invite a polio resurgence that would condemn millions of children to lifelong paralysis in the years ahead.

The bottom line is this—as long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children – wherever they live – remain at risk.

In addition to ending polio, Rotary members contribute their time, energy and passion to sustainable, long-term projects in local communities throughout the world. Projects focus on humanitarian issues like peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood supports many community service projects such as  The Kids Safety Village of Durham Region, Lakeridge Health Oshawa, the Colonel R.S. McLaughlin Regional Cancer Centre, Participation House, Simcoe Hall Settlement House, Durham College’s Centre for Collaborative Education, Ontario Tech University,  Kids Against Hunger, and assistance for students at Mary Street Community School.

If you would like to Learn more about Rotary or become a member, check out www.rotaryoshawa-parkwood.org and contact Rotary president Lennis Trotter at 905-985-0963 or by email at lennis.trotter@hotmail.com or past president Linda Porritt at 905-579-7339 or by email at linda.porritt@century21.ca

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