Rotary welcomes latest Purple4Polio Ambassador

Rotary welcomes latest Purple4Polio Ambassador

Rotary is delighted to welcome film producer Jonathan Cavendish on board as a Purple4Polio Ambassador.

Jonathan is the producer of Breathe, the remarkable true story of his father Robin, who, with the support of his wife Diana, refused to let contracting polio stop him from living life to the full.

After bringing this inspirational film to the big screen, Jonathan has a very personal connection to the disease and a passion for ensuring that we finish the job of ending polio now and forever.

I’m honoured and thrilled to become a Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassador.”

On becoming an ambassador, Jonathan commented: “I’m honoured and thrilled to become a Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassador.”

“I have witnessed the devastating effects of polio from close range, as my father Robin Cavendish contracted polio in Kenya in 1958, just before I was born. He could not breathe without a ventilator and was completely paralysed from the neck down. Despite predictions that he would swiftly die, he lived for 36 years.”

“He was, along with my mother Diana, a beacon of hope and inspiration for severely disabled and polio sufferers everywhere. Their lives have now been made into a film, Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, directed by Andy Serkis and produced by myself.”

I am pleased to be able to help Rotary publicise the great work done through the Purple4Polio campaign to end polio now.”

Jonathan joins other celebrity supporters, including polio survivors Ade Adepitan, Donavan, Julia Roberts and Anne Wafula Strike, in becoming a Purple4Polio Ambassador.

You can read more from Jonathan in Rotary magazine, as he shares more of his parents’ inspirational story.

Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign

Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative nearly 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.99%, from about 350,000 cases a year in 125 countries to just 37 cases in three remaining polio-endemic countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, in 2016 and just 12 cases of wild poliovirus so far in 2017.

To sustain this progress and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$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 paralysing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has contributed more than US$1.7 billion to ending polio since 1985.

At the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta in June, world governments and other organisations joined Rotary and Bill Gates in pledging new money totaling $1.2 billion, towards filling the $1.5 billion gap in the funding that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative estimates is needed to achieve eradication.

The British Government also pledged £100 million toward the fight to eradicate polio in August, to help vaccinate 45 million children per year by 2020.