Rotary Club raises glasses, funds for polio eradication

Saturday, October 26, 2019
Besides hosting the Wine and Chocolate Event on Thursday, the Greencastle Rotary Club also raised funds for polio Plus through the sale of End polio Now bracelets.
Courtesy photo

Rotary members in Greencastle took action on World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.

The Greencastle Rotary Club hosted its second-annual Wine and Chocolate Event for End Polio Now on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Putnam Inn (Mr. Ron’s Bar).

The evening consisted of light snacks, wine and chocolate pairings (samples of each), a small talk about polio and giveaways. Rotary District Assistant Gov. Jennifer Stanfield shared stories about the history of polio vaccinations.

Rotary Assistant District Gov. Jennifer Stanfield (right) meets with polio survivor Ruth Stites.
Courtesy photo

Ruth Stites, a polio survivor, was also on hand.

When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative more than three decades ago, polio paralyzed 1,000 children every day. They have made great progress against the disease since then.

Polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent, from 350,000 cases in 125 countries in 1988 to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018 in just two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The organization remains committed to the end. With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners are committed to sustaining this progress and continue to try and reach every child with the polio vaccine.

Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising $50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million.

It’s crucial to eliminate polio from the countries where it remains endemic and to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, it is estimated that within 10 years polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children annually.

Therefore, each year the Greencastle Rotary Club fundraises to help end polio.

Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion to ending polio since 1985.

“We set a goal each year to help the End Polio Now campaign,” Greencastle President-Elect Brooke Trissel said. “Last year we decided that creating a fun signature event would be a great way to not only raise money for the End Polio Now campaign, but to further educate our members and our community about polio and the work that Rotary has done to eradicate polio.

“The Wine and Chocolate Event has been such a great success over the last two years and we look forward to helping the event grow as we raise funds and awareness for polio,” Trissel added. “We want to give a huge thank you to the Putnam Inn staff and Lynda Dunbar. This event would not be possible without their help.”

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who unite and take action to create lasting change in communities around the globe.

For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to improve lives through service. From promoting literacy and peace to providing clean water and improving health care, Rotary members are always working to better the world.

Visit to learn more about Rotary and the fight to eradicate polio.

The Greencastle Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at noon at the Inn at DePauw. For more information reach out to any member.

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