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La Mirada Rotarians are seeking donations to support efforts to end polio throughout the world as part of Rotary’s World Polio Day on October 23.
Established by Rotary International more than a decade ago, World Polio Day honors Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the team that developed the first polio vaccine.
“Rotary is very proud of the remarkable progress that has been made towards a polio-free world over the past 30 years,” says Russell Hall, president of the Rotary Club of La Mirada.
“No child anywhere should have to suffer from this terrible disease, which can be so easily prevented by immunizations,” says Rotarian Hal Malkin, whose Rexall pharmacy served the La Mirada community for many years.
“Rotary launched PolioPlus, the first global campaign to immunize the world’s children against polio in 1985, at about the same time I joined Rotary,” says Dr. Wayne Wong, a dentist who has served the La Mirada community for decades. ”At that time there were more than 350,000 cases of crippling polio each year in over 125 countries.”
In 1988, Rotary mobilized the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to join in this effort. Since Rotary began working with its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to immunize more than 2 billion children, the incidence of polio has decreased 99 percent. Rotary has contributed over $1.4 billion and countless volunteer hours to polio eradication.
Today, polio has been eradicated in every country except Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Historic progress was seen this summer as Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa marked a full year without a case of polio. Nigeria may actually be crossed off the list of polio-endemic countries later this year.
“Donations by individuals, groups and businesses are critical to Rotary’s final push to end polio,” says medical student Chris Robinson, one of the newer members of the Rotary Club. “Donations now make triple the impact as every $1 Rotary commits to support for polio immunization through 2018 is matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Donations to help end polio may be brought to meetings of the Rotary Club of La Mirada at its Wednesday luncheon meetings at 12:30 p.m. at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, 14303 E. Firestone Blvd. in La Mirada. Contributions may also be mailed to the Rotary Club of La Mirada at P.O. Box 248, La Mirada, CA 90637-0248.
Rotary’s World Polio Day event will be streamed live from New York City on Oct. 23. Co-hosted by UNICEF, the event will highlight recent milestones. Jeffrey Kluger, health and science editor at Time magazine, will serve as moderator, joining other health experts, including UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and polio ambassadors. The event, which drew 23,000 viewers in 24 countries last year, will be available on social media and will be rebroadcast immediately on endpolio.org.
About Rotary Club of La Mirada
The Rotary Club of La Mirada is part of a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members in more than 34,000 Rotary clubs around the world. Their work improves lives at both the local and international level, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Rotary Club of La Mirada meets at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, 14303 E. Firestone Blvd. in La Mirada.
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