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World Polio Day
World Polio Day: Rotary Club of Oakville (RCO) fights to end polio worldwide
 
OAKVILLE, ONTARIO October 24, 2018 — In honor of World Polio Day, which is widely recognized on 24 October, the RCO is bringing awareness to the community as part of Rotary’s 27-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease polio.
 
World Polio Day follows a succession of significant developments that have made 2018 one of the most important years in the history of the polio eradication initiative.
 
The message to world leaders is clear: support the final push to achieve eradication now while the goal has never been closer, or face the potential consequences of a new polio pandemic that could disable millions of children within a decade.
 
Since 1985, Rotary has contributed over $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.    The disease remains endemic in three countries -- Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- although other countries remain at risk for imported cases.
 
On this day, representatives from all the rotary clubs in Oakville, and friends of the rotary joined together with Mayor Rob Burton and the recently elected members of council to commemorate this event.
 
Rotary Club of Oakville (RCO) President George Vincent commented, “We are grateful for our partners and supporters who join us in the ongoing battle to eradicate this dreadful disease for good. We look forward to the day, very soon, when our partners and supporters will join us in celebrating the last case of Polio on Earth. We can do it. We are this close! “
 
In 1988 there were over 350 000 cases of Polio worldwide. In 2017 there were less than 15 thanks to the efforts of many.
 
Len Warrington, past President of RCO states that “right from the beginning, our club members have participated in this Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) by contributing our dollars and our volunteer time, not only to raise funds, but also to have several of our members participate first hand in administering the polio vaccine to thousands of children in different parts of the world.”
 
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 US 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.  After an international investment of more than US$9 billion, and the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.
 
GPEI is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors.
 
 
Remembering John Smith- Forever in our hearts
I have been asked to say a few words about John Smith. The news of John’s passing is a “shock” – so vibrant a person but a few days ago.
 
Our hearts and prayers go out to Sally and Nicola, and John’s grandson Noah.
 
Because of the rare kidney disease that John just found out he had from a specialist, last Tuesday Dec 11th, John was unable to fly to Bermuda to see his family. This was the first time in 50 years that he would not be with his daughter and family for Christmas. But John was very positive about the outcome and had made arrangements to spend Christmas with friends.
 
I am here to celebrate John’s life, to celebrate his love of people and his love of serving his community.
 
John had so many friends. Wherever he went, whatever he was involved in, he made friends. He made friends because he was so positive, principled and happy and because he participated. We know just a part of his involvement in community through his participation in Rotary over that past 35 years.
 
He was always a leader, a servant leader.
 
Just look at the recent Salvation Army kettle drive: He proposed it, he managed it, and he prodded all of us to participate. He took the early and late shifts and he was so proud when our kettle was the best producing one on the day.
 
John was special. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he always had a smile and a chuckle, always a story to make you smile.
 
I have many memories working together with John: the bar service, many stories around the seniors, the Toronto lunches, the Robbie Burns night at Hart House, the lobster fest, Taste of the town, the Golf tournaments, the Speakers series. Over the years, who brought in the most sponsors, Sleemans, Jaguar, Royal Bank... who sold the most tickets? ? John.
 
You see, to be a friend of John’s was a “participatory” sport. You enjoyed the pleasure of buying tickets to all his charities and services.
 
John lived life to the fullest – he brought much joy and happiness to many people. I have a poem that will always remind me of John:
 
You can do anything if you have enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes
The swing in your gate
The grip in your hand
The irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas
Enthusiasts are fighters
They have fortitude
They have staying power
Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress
With it there is accomplishment
Without it- this is only alibis
 
John was the epitome of an enthusiast
I know John will want us to remember him with a smile on our face and joy in our hearts. And for each of us, to exert a little more effort, sell a few more tickets, because he will not be around to pick up the slack.
 
God Bless
 
Let us charge our glass and dirnk a toast to our friend and mentor John Smith.
Cheers.
 
George Farrow (RCO Past President)
 
 
 

 

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