Foundation director Don Logan arranged for a fundraiser for Polio-Plus at Royal Zayka on November 16. Rotarians, spouses, other family members and guests filled the restaurant.
Don said he was touched and humbled by the turnout, a proud to be a Rotarian.
During his presentation Don said that polio is caused by a virus not a bacteria and scientists Jonas Salk created a vaccine in 1954 and Albert Sabin created an oral vaccine in 1961.
At age eight, Don contracted polio and it was “pretty scary.” He spent two months in hospital and was fortunate that it did not affect his legs and cause paralysis as happened to hundreds of thousands of other children. His brother was pulled from school and a quarantine sign was put up on the porch of their house. Their dad had to move into a hotel to conduct his business. When Don was released from hospital, all the neighbours came to see the polio victim but didn’t come to close to him. 
A second Rotarian, Jan Gisborne, also contracted polio when she was a year and a half old but had little lasting effect. Her father drove polio victims in an ambulance to Victoria where they were placed in an iron lung from Nanaimo where she lived, and it’s believed that is why she got the disease. 
Rotary’s fight to eradicate polio started with a single Rotarian in the Philippines, sitting at a meeting asking that his club raise funds to buy vaccines. It became a Rotary International goal in 1985 when some 350,000 children in 125 countries came down with polio every year. Today there are only two countries where wild polio virus is endemic, Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
In Canada between 1949 and 1954 when the population was 15,000,000, 11,000 people were paralysed by polio. 
After she joined Rotary, Jan participated in a National Immunization Day in India in 2004. Thousands of Rotary and community volunteers administered over 200 million doses of vaccine in a day. Someone asked if India would ever be polio-free, and the answer was no. But in 2012 the country was declared polio-free. Some children had been vaccinated up to eight times, but many suffer from chronic diarrhea, so it needs to be repeated. 
Gisborne went on a second NIDs trip in 2008 to Nigeria where the teams travelled to areas where there were no maps and impossible to traverse roads. 
She said there is concern that cases have appeared recently in New York state, the United Kingdom and Israel. “As long as there is polio virus anywhere in the world, it is just a plane ride away from us.”
International director Bente Hansen presented a cheque for $3,000 to Powell River Action Food Bank manager Samantha Dee to help fill the shelves. There has been a large increase in the number of people needing to use the food bank, including many children, over the past year.