Posted by David Andrews on Jul 01, 2020

As part of a yearlong celebration to mark Rotary’s 117th anniversary and its 37th year in the fight to end polio, Rotary clubs worldwide are holding events, and raising funds and awareness needed to eradicate this paralyzing and potentially fatal disease – once and for all. The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and its members have contributed over $2,500 to help eradicate polio from the world. The money has come from fundraising events like the Annual Rotary Reverse Draw, Dinner & Silent Auction, held annually at the Oshawa Golf Club, and from many personal donations by the Rotary Club members....

Instead of giving their guest speakers at the weekly Rotary meetings a "thank you" gift, the Rotary Club thanks each guest speaker by making this annual donation to PolioPlus, and calling it the "Devon Biddle Thank You From the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood", in honour of Rotarian Devon Biddle..

These Rotary donations from the Club and from its members follows a succession of significant developments that have brought the world closer to eradicating only the second human disease in history.

In 2014, the entire World Health Organization-designated Southeast Asia Region (SEARO) was declared polio-free, which includes: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.

On September 25, 2015, we celebrated an exciting milestone on the road to polio eradication. The World Health Organization declared Nigeria polio-free and removed it from the list of polio-endemic countries. This means there are no longer any polio-endemic countries in Africa, and only two endemic countries remain in the world. With a fully funded program and global commitment to ending this disease, we have the opportunity to interrupt transmission of the wild poliovirus in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2016, opening the door for the certification of global eradication in 2019. An increase in resources of $1.5 billion will help Rotary and its partners to focus on the last and most vulnerable children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, while continuing to protect hundreds of millions of children already living in polio-free countries,” announced Mike McLaren, Oshawa-Parkwood Rotary Club President.

"We are encouraged to see the tangible progress made against polio in 2015," says Mike McGovern, chair of Rotary's International PolioPlus Committee. "However, until we eliminate polio from its final reservoirs, children everywhere are at risk from this disease. Rotary -- along with our partners -- will work hard to ensure that the world's most vulnerable children are kept safe from polio."

Rotary launched its flagship PolioPlus program in 1985, and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the global initiative began in 1988, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 370 in 2014; 102 in 2015 ; and 3 to date in 2016.

More than 2.5 billion children have been immunized in 122 countries, preventing five million cases of paralysis and 250,000 deaths. Polio today remains endemic in only three countries; Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, although “imported” cases in previously polio-free areas will continue to occur until the virus is finally stopped in the endemic countries.

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.

This week, two members of Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and a spouse are in India, at their own expense, administering polio vaccine to the children of India, to ensure that polio never returns to the country. It is Rotary's birthday present from Oshawa -Parkwood Rotarians to the children of India.

Through PolioPlus, Rotary has contributed more than $1.4 billion in support, along with securing over $10 billion from donor governments. Most recently, and through the 2013-18 “End Polio Now: Make History Today Campaign,” every dollar Rotary contributes to polio eradication will be matched 2-to-1 (up to $35 million per year) by the Gates Foundation. And during the next four years, the Government of Canada will contribute two dollars for every dollar raised by Rotarians and the Rotary Foundation Canada in support of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s Endgame Strategy, to a maximum contribution of $12 million.

It is so important to generate the funds needed to End Polio Now. To fail is to invite a polio resurgence that would condemn millions of children to lifelong paralysis in the years ahead. The bottom line is this: As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, all children – wherever they live – remain at risk”, said Mr. Bill Patchett, Chairman of Rotary International District 7070’s (southern Ontario) Rotary Foundation and the End Polio Now Coordinator for Rotary Clubs in Eastern Canada and northeastern United States.

In addition to ending polio, Rotary members contribute their time, energy and passion to sustainable, long-term projects in local communities across throughout the world. Projects focus on humanitarian issues like peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy and economic and community development.

If you would like to learn more about Rotary or become a member, check out our website and call Rotarian Lennis Trotter at 905-985-0963 or by email at Or Rotarian Linda Porritt at 905-579-7339 or by email at