For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — In honor of World Polio Day, which is widely recognized on Oct. 24, Marshfield Sunrise Rotary is hosting a flash mob in purple as part of Rotary’s 27-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease polio.
Marshfield Sunrise was instrumental in creating a regional campaign, Give Polio the Finger, to generate awareness. Purple ink on the pinkie finger tells everyone that one more person is safe from the horror of polio. It is more than a way to identify who has been immunized. It is a symbol of defiance against a harmful disease and a symbol of hope for a polio-free world. No one is safe until all are safe.
On Oct. 24 at 9 a.m., everyone is welcome to come to Marshfield Wildwood Park & Zoo, where amidst the hundreds of volunteers working diligently to set up for Sunrise Rotary’s Winter Wonderland, the barrage of purple shirts will gather together in celebration.
World Polio Day follows a succession of significant developments that have made 2015 one of the most important years in the history of the polio eradication initiative. The message to world leaders is clear: Support the final push to achieve eradication now while the goal has never been closer, or face the potential consequences of a new polio pandemic that could affect millions of children within a decade.
Since 1985 Rotary has contributed nearly $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. The disease remains endemic in three countries — Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan — although other countries remain at risk from imported cases.
“Polio is a devastating disease that used to affect an insurmountable number of people. The effort to eradicate polio is near complete due to the efforts of Rotary and countless others worldwide,” said Sunrise Rotary President Ben Bauer. “Being a part of Rotary means leaving your mark on this world in a way that shapes and improves the lives of future generations.”
A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal. As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against polio for life. After an international investment of more than $9 billion and the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United Nations Children’s Fund. It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors.