Fulton's Rotary Club will be marking historic progress toward a polio-free world while urging the community to help end the paralyzing disease in October. The observance is among thousands to be held by Rotary clubs around the world during World Polio Month.
They will kick off the month with a guest speaker, Dr. Ted Groshong, former polio chair for Rotary District 6080. The physician and professor emeritus of pediatric nephrology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine will speak during the weekly Rotary meeting at noon Oct. 6 at Ohana's.
Fulton Mayor Lowe Cannell will also be present at the meeting to make a proclamation declaring October World Polio Month in the city.
Rotary members will continue taking action throughout October to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. Great progress has been made against the disease since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
With polio nearly gone, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine.
Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising $50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million.
Rotary has contributed more than $2.2 billion to ending polio since 1985, including more than $10,000 donated by the Rotary Club of Fulton.
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.