Dryden Club contributes $4,292.40 to wipe out Polio in 2020.

Polio has occurred as a sporadic illness in humans since the time of the ancient Egyptians. As humans became more urbanized, polio epidemics have occurred with increasing severity until the polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s. 
 
The years prior to that, in Canada there were 40,000 cases per year, and millions worldwide. Children under age 5 were particularly susceptible, with many dying, and many more suffering from permanent disability.
 
By the 1970s, widespread vaccination had eliminated polio from the world’s most developed nations, but there were still about 1,000,000 deaths yearly in less developed countries.
 
 In 1979, Rotary International decided to take on one of the most ambitious projects in history – to eliminate polio from the world. Initially this was a Rotary-only effort, and the Philippines became the first developing nation to be immunized, and the first to become polio free.
 
By 1985, that number of polio deaths per year had fallen to 350,000 in 125 countries, and the World Health Organization came on board as a partner. Soon others followed – UNICEF, the Atlanta Centre for Disease Control, several national governments (including Canada), vaccine manufacturers, and, most recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
Now there are a handful of cases in only 2 nations in the world – Afghanistan and Pakistan. The problem is that with vaccination rates falling in developed countries and modern air travel (pre-COVID-19), further outbreaks can occur anywhere in the world, until the disease is completely eradicated.
 
Rotary, from the level of Rotary International down to the club level, remains dedicated to the goal of worldwide polio eradication.
 
 This year, Pat Chernesky, the District 5550 polio Chair put out a challenge to the 1,200 Rotarians in District 5550, which includes the Dryden club, to each donate at least $20.20 (for the year 2020) to RI’s polio eradication program, during the month of October. This amount would be matched 2:1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
 In the Rotary Club of Dryden, 48 of the 60 members answered the call, raising a total of $1,835.00. Our club topped this up to put Dryden’s contribution at $4,292.40. District wide, $26.016.22 was raised by the Rotary Clubs. Adding the 2:1 matching, this meant our District’s contribution is worth $78,048.66. to help in the fight against polio. Fourteen Clubs in District 5550 contributed at least $20.20 per member.
 
The fundraising continues, with Brenda Banbury, a Rotarian with the Saskatoon North Club, pledging to walk 250km outdoors in November for polio, and to match the amount of money raised during her walk. Donations can be made through the Treasurer, Rotary Club of Dryden using an e-transfer and the email address treasurer@drydenrotary.org or by cheque to Treasurer, Rotary Club of Dryden, PO Box 514 Dryden, ON P8N 2Z2.
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