This community raised more than $24,000 to fight polio late last month.
On Oct. 29, the Rotary Club of Ladysmith held a special event to raise money for the eradication of polio. Close to 100 people attended the event from Ladysmith, Chemainus and Nanaimo.
Joan Toone, a polio survivor and international speaker from Victoria, provided a moving presentation on the history of polio and what it meant to be a child who endured polio and as an adult now suffering from “Post Polio Syndrome.”
The combination of silent auction and live auction raised $4,400, and direct donations that evening raised another $1,680. The Ladysmith club matched membership donations to reach a total of $8,000. Then, to top it all off, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matched that two-for-one to bring the total for the evening to more than $24,000.
“We had a terrific night, with people really opening their hearts and wallets at both live and silent auctions,” said Rotary Club Foundation Chair Gerry Beltgens. “We were not expecting such great results because the All Candidates Meeting ended up on the same night, but the organizers were very supportive and even put out a call for donations at their event.”
This comes at an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which would be only the second human disease to be eradicated. Case numbers of the disease have never been lower, and only three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan) have never stopped transmission of the wild polio virus.
However, a funding gap means immunization campaigns are being cut in high-risk countries, leaving children more vulnerable to polio. If polio isn’t stopped now, the disease could stage a comeback, affecting an estimated 200,000 children every year.
Rotary, a humanitarian service organization with nearly 34,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, made polio eradication its top priority in 1985. Rotary has since contributed $1.2 billion USD, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries.
A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in parts of Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. There is no cure for polio, but for as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected from the disease for life.
Rotary Clubs International has already donated over $80 million towards the eradication of polio worldwide in 2014 alone.
The Ladysmith Rotary Club wishes to thank all of those who attended and all of the people and companies who donated silent and live auction items.
More details about the event can be found on the Rotary Club’s website at www.ladysmithrotary.org/ladysmith/ and the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rotaryladysmith.
— Submitted by Ladysmith Rotary Club