ROTARY AT WORK How can a plant save a life?

 

Did you know that Rotary International has made it a mission to eradicate polio from the entire world?  And that there are only three countries left in which polio exists? The last country to capitulate was India, after many years of delivering the vaccine. In February, 2012, the country celebrated one full year polio free. 

 

In today’s world, many of us don’t understand the crippling effects of polio.  The virus attacks the intestinal tract, causing general illness and flu-like symptoms, but in its worst form, the virus migrates from the intestine and may affect the nerves governing the muscles in the limbs and the muscles necessary for breathing, causing respiratory difficulty and paralysis of the arms and legs. It can even cause death.

 

In the Western Hemisphere we began to use the vaccine as soon as it became available in the mid-fifties, and for many years we’ve not seen anyone with the disease. The rest of the world was not as fortunate, but with concerted efforts, only a few countries remain a challenge. Although immunization efforts continue, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are still infected.  Change in these countries is difficult due to cultural or religious barriers and/or civil unrest.  But when compared to the entire world, we have almost reached our goal. You will see evidence of the current campaign, which states, “We are ‘this close’ to ending polio.

 

One of the faces you will see in these ads is that of Bill Gates. He donated $350 million to the cause, and challenged Rotary International to match it.  Rotary’s initial pledge, set in 2009, was to raise $200 million for polio eradication. To date, Rotary has contributed $164.5 million to the cause in India, and more than $1 billion worldwide.

 

This money comes from fundraisers in individual clubs all over the world.

Here in Okotoks, the Rotary club is selling poinsettias to brighten your holiday season.  Why not celebrate World Polio Day on October 24th by ordering your plants? All of the proceeds will go toward this global initiative. We are using a local supplier, and offering two sizes of the plant. For $15, a stunning poinsettia, and for $20, a beautiful plant laced with tropicals.  To place your order, call (403) 938-9951 or e-mail jefffoss@telusplanet.net.