NEWS RELEASE: “World Polio Day to be marked with Virtual Walk”
 Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years. Our goal of ridding the world of this disease is one step closer to this World Polio Day.
The Rotary Club of Kenora is planning a Virtual Walk on World Polio Day, Saturday, Oct. 24, to raise funds and awareness of the service organization’s top priority for more than 30 years. Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours toward eradicating polio worldwide and helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease. Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, nearly 19 million people who would otherwise have been paralyzed are walking, and more than 1.5 million people are alive who would otherwise have died. Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.
“We are almost there!! We must continue the effort to fulfill a promise to all children for a polio-free world.”
An estimated 11,000 people in Canada were left paralyzed by polio between 1949 and 1954. The disease peaked in 1953 with nearly 9,000 cases and 500 deaths - the most serious national epidemic since the 1918 influenza pandemic. The last major polio epidemic in Canada occurred in 1959, with nearly 2,000 paralytic cases. Canada was certified "polio-free" in 1994. - The Canadian Public Health Association website
Africa region declared free of the wild poliovirus by World Health Organization (WHO) on August 25, 2020. This is a historic and vital step towards the global eradication of polio.
 
“In the face of a pandemic, the world has had very little good news to celebrate in global health this year, and the challenges ahead are formidable,” said 2020-21 Rotary International President Holger Knaack. “That is why we must recognize this great achievement and commend all of the people who played important roles in eradicating wild polio in the African region. It took tremendous effort and partnership over many years.”
 
Local Rotarians and members of the Interact Club are asking family, friends, colleagues, and supporters to help continue the effort by joining the World Polio Day Virtual Walk on Oct. 24. Wherever you are (around your neighbourhood, in your backyard) and by whatever means (walk, ride or run) join the cause so that children, anywhere in the world, never again face paralysis or potentially death from the poliovirus.
 
You may register and make financial contributions to the Kenora Rotary Virtual Walk for Polio online through Raise for Rotary https://raise.rotary.org/Gord-LeMaistre/celebration . Donors who give $10 USD or more through Raise for Rotary will receive a tax receipt via email. Donations made by cheque will receive a receipt by email if donors provide an email address or by regular mail if they do not.
 
Those not requiring a tax receipt can also mail donations to the Rotary Club of Kenora, Box 164, Kenora, P9N 3X3. Indicate the funds are for the Virtual Walk for Polio.
All donations to polio through Rotary will be matched 2 to 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

About Rotary
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who unite and take action to create lasting change in communities around the globe. For more than 115 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to improve lives through service. From promoting literacy and peace to providing clean water and improving health care, Rotary members are always working to better the world. Visit endpolio.org to learn more about Rotary and the fight to eradicate polio.