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Rotarians in Cambridge and East Anglia in action to meet the Bill Gates Foundation Challenge of making the world polio free
During week commencing February 22nd shoppers, in and around Cambridge, can expect to see local Rotarians who will be joining others throughout East Anglia and the rest of the country to raise awareness and funds for Rotary’s major international Thanks for Life campaign to eradiate the world of polio.
Whilst the United Kingdom and Ireland are now polio free, many people aged 60 and over will remember the warnings about the use of swimming pools or swimming in the sea in hot summers and also the pictures of victims in iron lungs. The polio virus has maimed millions of children over the last fifty years but thankfully now most of the world is polio free; however parts of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are still affected. It is highly virulent and only an air flight away from the UK.
For the last 25 years Rotarians throughout the world have worked at eradicating this crippling, and sometimes fatal disease from every country in the world. This effort has been recognised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which recently gave Rotary $355 million to buy, amongst other things, polio vaccine to help with the eradication process. The gift came with the challenge that Rotarians should raise an extra $200 million by the end of 2013.
Over one hundred and twenty Rotarians from the four Rotary clubs in Cambridge together with their associated Inner Wheel and Rotaract clubs will join forces knowing that over 1,000 of their East Anglian colleagues and 55,000 other Rotarians across Great Britain and Ireland are also giving their time in a bid to get the public behind Rotary’s last push to stamp out polio from the world.
Every day of the week at 14 Market Hill, Cambridge, a retail unit next to Starbucks, members of Rotary, Inner Wheel and Rotaract will have information on polio and will collect public donations. Every £1 raised in this campaign will purchase five doses of the special anti-polio vaccine to go to the mass immunisation campaigns and contribute to the target set by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Rotarians nationally are aiming to generate over £1 million during the current Thanks for Life campaign.
Shop window information displays have also been erected in Sawston and Great Shelford by the Sawston District club and at the Cambridge University Press Bookshop at 1 Trinity Street and the former ‘Mr Shoes’ shop at 19 Market Hill will also have information displays during the week.
On Saturday 27th February Tesco Stores are backing the campaign by allowing local Rotarians to raise awareness and funds at three major Tesco stores at Bar Hill, Milton and Newmarket Road. Rotarians from the Cambridge, South Cambridge, Cambridge Rutherford, the Sawston District clubs and members of Inner Wheel and Rotaractors will be doing their best to attract support from shoppers.
John Samuel, District Governor of Rotary in East Anglia said ‘This coming week, that also celebrates the founding of Rotary, is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to be reminded that other people, especially children, live in countries where the disease is still endemic. These children will be protected against polio - forever if we can get them immunised.
We have been involved in this fight for 25 years and the world is now close to being free from polio thanks to the joint work of organisations and governments. How fantastic it would be for us all to know that we assisted in wiping out a disease for only the second time in history, after smallpox’.
The activities will form part of Rotary’s Thanks for Life campaign which will see hundreds of Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland linking up with businesses, organizations, schools and individuals to hold a range of fund-raising events to raise the £1 million target by Thanks For Life – Rotary Day, Tuesday, February 23rd, Rotary’s 105th birthday.
Anyone interested in the campaign or Rotary should contact: Nigel Neville on 01954 780604 or Tony Collett on 01223 893447 or visit www.ribi.org/thanks-for-life.