The City of Jacksonville has recognized Rotary International’s historic progress toward a polio-free world by proclaiming October 24 “World Polio Day in Jacksonville.” In issuing the proclamation on Friday, Mayor Andy Ezard commended the Jacksonville Rotary Club and the Sunrise Rotary Club for their fundraising efforts on behalf of Rotary International’s Polio Plus campaign.
Jacksonville Rotary Club president Ginny Fanning thanked Ezard and said, “Rotary wants to thank the Jacksonville community for its support to end the dreadful, paralyzing disease of polio. In the United States we are so fortunate that polio is no longer an annual scourge. However, polio still threatens children and forever changes lives in other countries. Jacksonville Rotarians are proud to be among millions reaching out on World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio. Please support our efforts by donating at endpolio.org/donate.”
Fanning said Jacksonville Rotarians Chuck and Lynne Sheaff traveled to India in 2016, where they worked with a team of Rotarians to immunize children in the Mewat District near Dehli. The Sheaffs joined Rotarian volunteers from Canada, Australia, South Korea, France, Belgium, the UK, and the US. The Sheaffs look forward to one day telling their grandchildren, “We were a part of getting rid of this awful disease.”
Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative nearly 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to just 37 cases in 2016. To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year over the next three years in support of global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has contributed more than $1.7 billion to ending polio since 1985.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.