#WorldPolioDay 2019 – Social Media Highlights

#WorldPolioDay 2019 – Social Media Highlights

To mark World Polio Day 2019, millions of Rotary members, campaigners, vaccinators and supporters shared their enthusiasm to eradicate polio on social media. These are some of the highlights.

Since pioneering the campaign to End Polio Now over 30 years ago, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9% worldwide, but we won’t stop until we reach the end. Keen supporters, volunteers, vaccinators and Rotary members have connected with one another on social media. Here are some of the highlights.

World Polio Day 2019 – Global Update

This year, Rotary International changed the global update stream to suit the variety of timezones where Rotary members, volunteers and polio supporters would be tuning in from. Instead of streaming live, the footage was aired from Evanston numerous times so that more people had a chance to connect on #WorldPolioDay.

This year’s edition highlighted heroes of polio eradication, stories from recently impacted areas and other topical news.

Thousands tuned in for the 6pm Great Britain and Ireland stream, but you can catch up by watching the video below.

Key partners

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

A crucial partner for total polio eradication. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donate 2:1 for every donation made by Rotary towards the total vaccination process.


World Health Organization (WHO)

Gee Tee Bulb Company

Purple illuminations

Buildings all over the world were lit in colours representing Rotary’s campaign to end polio. In Great Britain and Ireland, the main focus was flooding towns in a sea of purple, representing the #Purple4Polio campaign. Purple is the colour of dye used to indicate that a child has safely been vaccinated.

Birmingham Breakfast & West Bromwich Rotary

Two Midlands-based Rotary clubs organised the illumination of Library of Birmingham in the city centre. Volunteers gathered at dusk to inform the public about polio, and Rotary’s campaign to eradicate it.

purple4polio birmingham library

The Library of Birmingham bathed in purple light for October 24th, World Polio Day.

Lytham Rotary

Lytham Rotary members lit nearby windmill in purple light as well as celebrating the first birthday of Passionately Purple Gin. Nearly £7,000 has been raised from the 1,180 bottles purchased over the year. Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this figure has been tripled to £21,000.

To purchase the gin, download the order form and submit to Herbert Chatters as instructed. The 70cl bottle is priced at £35, with £6.20 contributing to End Polio Now, and the taster 20cl bottle is priced at £15, with £4 contributing to the cause.

purple windmill world polio day

As dusk fell, Lytham Windmill glowed in purple light.

Runcorn Rotary

Mersey Gateway Bridge is a toll bridge up north, which was lit in purple last night in time with World Polio Day.

Melton Mowbray Rotary

Members in Leicestershire lit various pinpoints of the community in purple to raise awareness of Rotary’s campaign to eradicate polio.

Leeds White Rose Rotary

Gravesend Rotary

Leamington Spa Rotary


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#Community #Foundation #InstaGood @rotarygbi

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The 1,240 Challenge – Get Moving to End Polio

The 1,240 Challenge is a new initiative for Rotary clubs in Great Britain and Ireland to get involved with. Its name was inspired by the length of the border between the remaining two polio-endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Over in Wales, Rotary members were keen to incorporate the new activity into their World Polio Day activities.

Purple plantings

Every year, Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland plant purple crocus corms under the #Purple4Polio initiative, which flower the following spring.

The purple crocus has become a recognised symbol of polio due to its colour matching the pinkie of a child who has received its vaccination against the disease.

This year (approximately) 2,440,000 crocus corms were sold to Rotary members across Great Britain and Ireland.

Redditch Kingfisher Rotary

Despite the rain, Redditch Kingfisher Rotary brought the community together on Sunday 13th October 2019 with a mass crocus corm plant. 12,000 bulbs were planted by 99 volunteers in under an hour.

Evesham Rotary

Students from a local school were invited by Evesham Rotary members to get involved in a crocus corm planting at The Walled Gardens at Croome Court.


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A group of students from @thedemontfortschool School and @prince_henrys_high, together with @eveshamrotaryclub, will be returning to The Walled Gardens at Croome on Thursday 24th October 2019 to plant 4000 crocus corms, helping to raise awareness for World Polio Day. . . There will be an opportunity for the public to see all the bulbs in bloom when the Walled Gardens at Croome Court re-open from Easter 2020. . . Purple is the colour of the dye placed on the little finger on the left hand of a child to show they have been immunised against polio, hence the name @purple4polio . . #croomewalledgardens #croome #walledgarden #planting #crocuscorms #simondemontfort #rotaryclub #purple4polio #worldpolioday2019 #worldpolioday #polio #crocusplant #crocuses #volunteers #kitchengarden #gardening #eradicatepolio #springflowers #polioawareness

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Rutland Rotary

Erimus Rotary

Scarborough Cavaliers Rotary

Purple4Polio Ambassadors show their support

We’re incredibly thankful for the awareness our Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassadors raise – including on social media!

Ade Adepitan

Ade is a Rotary Purple4Polio Ambassador who contracted polio as a child, which paralysed him from walking.

He contracted polio in his birth country of Nigeria, a country which has passed the landmark goal of three years without a declared case, however, Ade is keen to eradicate polio from the world within his lifetime.

This week, Ade visited Wembley Stadium and met Rotary Editor Dave King. You can read an article here.

“The last few steps are always the toughest, but once we end it, once it is all over, it will all absolutely be worth it,” Ade commented.

Anne Wafula Strike

Anne is a British Paralympic wheelchair racer who shares the passion to eradicate polio. Strike contracted the disease aged two, in home-town Kenya.

Around the world

As the world takes its final steps to eradicate polio, Rotary clubs all over got involved in illuminating famous buildings and involving the community.


Turks and Caicos Islands


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The Rotary Club of Grand Turk along with members of the Ministry of Health, the Rotaract Club of Grand Turk and members of the community took to the streets to bring awareness of the disease Polio in honor of World Polio Day. World Polio Day is celebrated on October 24 annually. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against Polio. Polio is a highly infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of five. The virus is spread person to person, typically through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system and in some instances lead to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine – one which Rotary and its partners have used to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide. #EndPolioNow #Polio #GlobalHealth #PolioEradication #Rotary #RotaryFoundation #RotaryGT #RotaryLife #WorldPolioDay #October24 #ThisClose #D7020 @rotaractclubgdt

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