Saturday week, October 24, will be World Polio Day and Rotary clubs around the world will be raising awareness of this dreadful disease and raising funds to help eradicate it. Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years and our goal of ridding the world of polio is closer than ever.
But what is polio? Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a paralyzing and potentially deadly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of 5. The virus spreads from person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can then attack the nervous system.
More than US$2.1 billion has been raised and countless volunteer hours spent to protect nearly three billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. When a child receives their life-saving polio drops on mass polio immunisation days, their little finger is painted with a purple dye to show they have received their polio vaccine.
The Purple4Polio campaign is to raise awareness of the disease and help raise funds to continue the fight to eradicate the disease.
Hub also turns purple
Rotary has teamed up with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Bloom Groups to transform public spaces and brighten up local communities by planting five million purple crocus corms across Britain and Ireland. The Rotary Club of Rye & Winchelsea is raising awareness locally this year by planting purple crocus in and around the ‘tank traps’ at the new community wellbeing centre for Rye – the Hub on Rye Hill.
Private and public buildings will also be turned purple to mark the day. This year we are very pleased to see that St Thomas’ Church, Winchelsea and the Hub on Rye Hill, Rye Hospital will turn their building purple to mark the event.
The end of polio is in sight, and today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.
Image Credits: Rye Rotary .