Oct. 24 marked World Polio Day which celebrates the near eradication of polio — a debilitating and sometimes deadly disease that has ravaged many parts of the world.
At the Lynnwood Rotary Club gathering Oct. 24, Lynnwood Rotary Club member Gary Nelson — a polio survivor himself — shared a presentation of the role Rotary International has played in the eradication of polio.
The following is a brief excerpt of Nelson’s speech.
“On Sept. 29, 1979, volunteers which included then president of Rotary International James L. Bomar along with a group of Rotarians and several delegates from the Philippine Ministry of Health administered drops of oral polio vaccine to children at a health center in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati, Philippines. It was then that Bomar recognized this was a cause Rotary could rally around.
After several years of infrastructure building and by 1985 Rotary International launched its Polio Plus program, the very first international initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Through decades of commitment and hard work by Rotary and their partners, more than 2.5 billion children have received the oral polio vaccine to date. As of Oct. 24, 2019 there are only two countries left that have the wild poliovirus, they are Afghanistan and Pakistan.
From day of the initiative, Lynnwood Rotary has been onboard with raising funds, sending volunteers and much more, as have so many other Rotary clubs the world over. Together they and their partners have been able to transform the lives of 2.5 billion people, who will not have to fear getting polio.”