Ladysmith Rotary Club is once again organizing the Lanterns for Hope fundraiser to help eradicate polio following a surprising turnout last year that saw thousands turn out at Transfer Beach.
“A lot of people had come down with the intention of recognizing someone in a memory sort of sense not just support polio,” said Rotary spokesperson Ed Nicholson, adding that commemorating family is common at the event.
Up to 1,000 lanterns, almost three times as many as in 2016, will be available for sale on site for $5.00 each starting at 8 p.m. on Feb. 16.
The money raised for Rotary International’s End Polio Now is automatically matched by the Canadian government, Nicholson said.
“When that money goes into Rotary International the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matches it again,” he said of the “multiplier effect.”
If all lanterns are sold that could mean enough funds for 24,000 children to receive vaccinations.
“One person’s lantern basically means 30 kids are going to get a polio vaccination,” Nicholson said.
The local event is the only lantern launch on Vancouver Island approved by Nav Canada, a private, non-share corporation that owns and operates Canada’s civil air space.
Lanterns will be lit between 8:45 and 9:15 in accordance with the permit.
RCMP and Fire Rescue will be on hand to assist.
– By Mike Gregory. Ladysmith Chronicle