Polio, or poliomyelitis is a viral infection that can easily be spread from host
to host that can often lead to problems breathing, flu-like symptoms, meningitis,
lost control of limbs, and paralysis to name a few. In Greek, poliomyelitis means
grey spinal cord inflammation. Many Rotaractors in the United States have probably
never seen cases of polio in their lifetime because the disease is on its way to
eradication. Or at least, that’s what we are fighting to accomplish. Polio was an
epidemic that plagued many nations including the United States at one point.
Our late president, Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted polio at the age of 39 in 1921.
Upon becoming president, President Roosevelt created a nationwide organization
that collected funds to care for polio patients. That organization is known today as
the March of Dimes.  Polio has no cure. The only way of combating this virus is
through prevention and vaccination. Many who are prone to contracting the disease
are young children, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems that
are affected by other medical conditions. To this day, only 3 countries in the world
have reported cases of polio: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. India was reported
polio-free just two years ago. What hap-pens if we do not eradicate polio? District 5280
Governor Doug Baker warned, “If we fail, [the polio virus] will reintroduce itself.” That
also implies that if reintroduced, the virus will become more resistant to modern
treatments.  Rotary has teamed up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to
help end this fight. For just $0.60, a child can be protected from polio for life.
So what can you do?  Rotaractors from all around the world have come up with
creative ways to raise awareness about polio and raise funds toward the program.
For some great ideas, check out the following links: http://www.endpolio.org/ http://www.penniesforpolio.org/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLegSNoh5o0&list=FLyY94RUkRhHb3NltDulUV2w&index=13