World Polio Day celebrated its sixth birthday this year, and impressive events were hosted across the world.
Since the first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979, polio has been eradicated by 99.9%.
This year also marked 30 years of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Although there is no cure for polio, it can be prevented with a vaccine.
Rotary has been joining forces with associations such as the World Health Organization in a battle to reach the remaining endemic countries- Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
Unless polio is eradicated everywhere, within ten years we could see as many as 200,000 new cases annually.
World Polio Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the devastating effects of polio and why we must come together to eradicate it from the world.
The first effective attempt to fight polio was made by Jonas Salk in 1955.
He and his team created an inactivate vaccine.
To honour his work, Rotary International named October 24th as World Polio Day.
#Purple4Polio ice cream
World Polio Day was also a special day for members of Huntly Rotary, creators of the Purple4Polio ice cream, who travelled down to London for a visit the Houses of Parliament.
Club members spent time with Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for International Development, along with Colin Clark MP and Lord Bruce.
The Department of International Development has been a large supporter of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, pledging £100 million towards eradicating the disease in August of last year, which is helping to immunise 45 million children against polio by 2020.
Since the launch of the blueberry ice cream back in 2016, members of Huntly Rotary have showcased and shipped their frozen treat across the country in collaboration with manufacturers James Rizza’s & Sons Ltd.
So far, the ice cream has raised funds equivalent to almost 18,000 potentially lifesaving polio vaccinations, before additional 2-to-1 matched funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
— Rotary Club, Huntly (@RotaryHuntly) October 24, 2018
Rotary members in Lytham have worked hard with gin distillery, Lytham Gin, to create a purple treat.
The cork is out of the bottle, following the successful launch of Passionately Purple gin.
A gathering of enthusiasts heard that hundreds of homes across Rotary GBI and internationally want the high-demand release.
Each sip will contribute towards our shared mission. There is more information available in this article about how to get your hands on a bottle.
Now our Passionately Purple gin is well and truly launched thanks to #Fylde Mayor Peter Collins, comedian @TheBobbyBall and Past President of @RotaryGBI Denis Spiller (with support from Mayoress Caroline Collins and our President John Edwards). pic.twitter.com/UykAbxft92
— LythamRotary (@LythamRotary) October 25, 2018
Climbing the O2
Led by Brenda Parsons, three groups took part in the climb to the top of the iconic London monument.
A pull up banner promoting the campaign made the trip!
In spite of the steepness of the climb, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and grasped the chance to promote Rotary to members of the public who were visiting the site at the time.
Brenda said,“What an exhilarating way to raise funds to eradicate polio.
“The feeling of achievement in reaching the top of the O2 Dome in London, made us all feel on top of the world and that with Rotary enthusiasm and effort, we really can keep our promise to totally eliminate polio.”
Event organiser Christine Atkinson added, “Having a mother who was disabled by polio when I was 4 years old and my brother was just 18 months, I know the devastating effect it [polio] can have on a family.
“I am delighted to be part of the End Polio Now campaign championed by Rotary.
“It was a fun day, enjoyed by all and means that we can contribute funds raised towards vaccinating many more children thus preventing them from a possible life with polio.”
Purple is a colour closely associated with polio, as when a child is vaccinated, their finger is marked with a dash of purple.
Many communities across Great Britain and Ireland reached out to local landmarks, illuminating the buildings in purple during the course of World Polio Day and the days surrounding.
Members from the small town in Powys asked their local inn, which they meet at weekly, to shine a purple light. They accepted and promoted Rotary’s mission alongside other venues.
The Bear will be going purple to mark World Polio Day. It is being celebrated around the world to generate awareness towards eradication of polio. World Polio Day is supported by the Rotary Club of Crickhowell, who meet weekly at The Bear. #WorldPolioDay #Polio pic.twitter.com/OFgQpBiWcL
— The Bear Hotel, Crickhowell (@TheBearAtCrick) October 24, 2018
Southampton Magna Rotary
For World Polio Day, Southampton Magna members asked local O2 venue, the Guildhall to bathe itself in purple for a good cause – they accepted, and it looked great!
October 24th is World Polio Day and we arranged for the Guildhall in Southampton to be bathed in purple lighting.
Next year we aim to have much more of Southampton in purple.
— Rotary Club of Southampton Magna (@rotarymagna) October 26, 2018
Narberth & Whitland Rotary
As well as highlighting a local venue in purple, members from Narberth & Whitland Rotary visited a local school.
They reflected their enthusiasm and purple pinkies were held high.
Canterbury Sunrise Rotary
In conjunction with local school, St Edmund’s, Canterbury Sunrise Rotary organised this year’s event to floodlight the main buildings of the school facing the city in purple for the evening.
Members joined staff and pupils on World Polio Day for a celebration raising over £750 towards the cost of vaccination of children against the disease.
Rotary members in Coventry lit up various points of the city centre, attracting attention from the public.
The Parish Church and Greyfriars were bathed in purple light as part of Ringwood Rotary’s World Polio Day celebrations.
Greyfriars Community Centre welcomes the members for their club meeting and were more than happy to illuminate the building.
A purple glow bathed the Menai Straut, spreading across multiple venues in the area. On the 24th, a video was projected about the campaign on the walls of Pontio – the university’s arts and innovation centre.
— NorthWalesChronicle (@NorthWalesChron) October 24, 2018
Throughout the evening of Wednesday 24th October, many attended the Tanners’ FA Cup match against Hitchin Town, who will hopefully have seen the town’s old pumping station lit up in bright purple!
This was one of four landmarks around the town lit up by Leatherhead Rotary.
Leatherhead Rotary Club would like to thank SES Water, Kendall Cars and TSL Lighting for their invaluable assistance in lighting up the town’s pumping station, together with everyone who supported the club’s collection in the Swan Centre on Saturday 27th October, which raised over £250.
Many thanks to @SESWater, @kendallcars and @tsl_lighting for helping #Leatherhead #Rotary light up the town’s old pumping station in #purple on #WorldPolioDay to raise awareness of @Rotary’s global #polio eradication campaign! #PurpleForPolio #Purple4Polio #EndPolio #EndPolioNow pic.twitter.com/YT4uXu4IOS
— Simon Edmands (@SimonEdmands) October 31, 2018
Rotary members in Worcester lit up The Elgar Statue in the city centre.
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Today is World Polio Day and this evening Rotary Worcester briefly coloured The Elgar Statue purple to highlight that polio is nearly (but not quite) eradicated. Purple is the colour of the dye put on a child’s finger to show they have been immunised against polio. In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus programme, the first initiative to tackle global eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed billions to immunise more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. Today, there are only three countries with polio, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Just 22 polio cases were confirmed worldwide in 2017, which is a reduction of more than 99.9 per cent since the 1980s, when the world saw about 1,000 cases per day. #endpolio #endpolio2018 #Rotary #worldpolioday #Worcester #discoverworcestershire #Worcestershire #Worcestergram #thecityofworcester #igersworcs @purpleswanphoto @jamesvincent__
Rotary around the world
Across the globe, buildings have been lit similarly.
— Jayishni Maharaj (@JayishniMaharaj) October 24, 2018
#WorldPolioDay! mark the historic effort to #EndPolio globally. Tune in to @Rotary my SandArt at Puri Beach ,Odisha. The event was organised by Rotary Club of Puri, Rotary Club of Shri Jagannath Dham, Rotary Club of Srikshetra Puri and Rotary Club of Nilachal Puri. pic.twitter.com/FRBNNArYuP
— Sudarsan Pattnaik (@sudarsansand) October 24, 2018
— Rotary Tres Cantos (@RCTresCantos) October 24, 2018
— I&C (@GruppoIeC) October 31, 2018
— RotaryTorrevieja (@RCTorrevieja) October 29, 2018
Casa de Gibierno, Jujuy, Arg., adhiere a la iniciativa End Polio Now 2018 @RotaryES @4849Rotary @EndPolioNow @luromanoddone @todonoticias @JujuyNoticias @MoralesGerardo1 @MarioFiad @Rotary @RotaryRassin @rotarypropaz pic.twitter.com/6F31LYpDPf
— Rafael O. Romano (@rafael_oro) October 25, 2018
World Polio DAY.. 24th October..Celebrated by ROTARY CLUB OF ILKAL (RID-3170, No.73039). Shri Vijay Mahantesh Gadduge. pic.twitter.com/lRtRjWs8q0
— Rtn K S Kudleppanavar (@KKudleppanavar) October 25, 2018
A first school in West Yorkshire got their fists muddy by planting crocuses donated by a local Rotary club.
Year 2 planted purple crocus bulbs donated by the Rotary club – a sign to remember all that Rotary have done to eradicate the Polio virus around the world. pic.twitter.com/Bt3j0oHACF
— Burnley Road Academy (@BurnleyRoad) October 25, 2018
Rotary members planted 150,000 crocuses in locations across Ireland which will set the landscape ablaze when they bloom in the spring.
The purple project provides a wonderful opportunity for those involved to get active, have fun and raise awareness.
Minster On Sea Rotary
Collaborating with Medway Rotary, Sittingbourne Invicta Rotary and local Sea Cadets, the team created a large Rotary wheel using 5,000 purple crocus bulbs.
Spring will see the design come to life on the popular seafront.
The idea behind the members is to create lasting tribute to volunteers worldwide.
On the banks surrounding Stoke Mandeville Stadium’s athletics and para-athletics track, groups of volunteers from Rotary and WheelPower joined forces to plant 25,000 purple crocus corms for World Polio Day.
Elgin Rotary members had a busy day planting crocuses and dressing in purple.