The City of Toronto raises the Rotary Flag for World Polio Day in Toronto on October 24, 2014

 
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- In honor of World Polio Day 2014, hundreds of Rotarians from the 26 Rotary Clubs in Toronto were on hand, including the Rotary International District Governor Brian Thompson, and Rotary International Director Andy Smallwood of Houston, Texas, to help raise the red END POLIO NOW at Toronto City Hall on October 24 in honour of the 26 Rotary Clubs of Toronto and their efforts in Rotary’s 29-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease, polio.
 
In the attached photo: left to Right: Andy Smallwood, Director of Rotary International; Jennifer Boyd, Chair of the District 7070 Rotary World Polio Day Committee,; and Brian Thompson, Governor of Rotary International District 7070 , right here in southern Ontario.
“In addition to the flag raising ceremony, the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, proclaimed October 24, 2014 as World Polio Day in Toronto” announced Brian Thompson Wafer, Rotary International District Governor for the 54 Rotary Clubs in southern Ontario, including the 26 Rotary Clubs in Toronto.
 

 
The City of Toronto “End Polio Now” Flag raising ceremony tells the whole world that October 24 is World Polio Day in Toronto and it honours the Rotary Clubs efforts in Rotary’s 29-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease, polio”, he added.
And in June 2018, the City of Toronto will host the Rotary International Convention with over 20,000 Rotarians are expected to attend.
 
“Polio cases have declined rapidly since 1985, but the fight isn't over. Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, and for as little as US$0.60, a child can be protected against the virus for life. If we don't finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years” he said.
Many Rotary Clubs in southern Ontario were handing out polio awareness brochures along the GO Train routes on October 24, 2014.
The world is on the verge of eliminating one of the most dreaded diseases of the 20th century -- poliomyelitis. During the first half of the 20th century, polio crippled over a half a million people every year. Even today, children in some developing countries continue to fall victim to the disease. But thanks in large part to Rotary International and to the 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide, including the 2 Rotary Clubs in Oshawa, the disease will soon be all but a memory. 
 
Before celebrating this public health milestone, the spread of the poliovirus must be interrupted in the poorest and most populous regions of the world, and surveillance must continue for several years to be sure the virus is completely wiped out. This is no easy task. One of the greatest challenges to the effort is a funding shortage.  
 
To date, Rotary has contributed more than US$1 billion to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. Rotary reaches out to governments worldwide to obtain vital financial and technical support. Since 1995, donor governments have contributed in excess of $6 billion to polio eradication, due in part to Rotary’s advocacy efforts. But much more is needed. More than twenty years of steady progress is at stake, and polio -- now on the ropes -- stands to stage a dangerous comeback unless the funding gap is bridged. Learn more ways to help at: endpolionow.org.
 
In addition to raising money for polio eradication, Rotary members offer their time and expertise in the field to fight polio by providing support at clinics, transporting vaccine, contributing medical supplies, and mobilizing their communities for immunization and other polio eradication activities. More than one million members of Rotary worldwide have contributed toward the success of the polio eradication effort to date, demonstrating the extraordinary impact civil society can have on a global public health initiative.
 
Although the world is 99.9% polio free, the fight to end polio is not over and Rotary Clubs world-wide continue to raise funds to meet the challenge.  A US$700-million funding gap threatens to undermine all of the progress achieved against the disease since 1988, when Rotary joined with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
 
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
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 disable millions of children within a decade.
 
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 US 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. After 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.
 
Rotary’s main responsibilities are fundraising, advocacy, and volunteer recruitment. Since 1995, the advocacy efforts of Rotary and its partners have helped raise more than $8 billion from donor governments. And Rotary clubs also provide on the ground help in polio affected communities.
 
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from 200 countries and geographical regions. Their work impacts lives both at the local and international levels, from helping families in need, right here in Oshawa, to working toward a polio-free world.

Rotarians are neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.  With differing occupations, cultures, and countries, Rotarians are given a unique perspective. Their shared passion for service helps Rotarians accomplish the remarkable.

 
Rotary invites the public to support the polio eradication initiative by visiting us on  Facebook  at End Polio Now  and be sure to visit the www.rotary7070.org website for more information about the Rotary Clubs in Toronto.
 
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