On Wednesday October 23rd, more than 150 Rotarians, community leaders and citizens met up at Dust Off Brewing in Rock Hill to enjoy great fellowship, great local craft beer, and to raise awareness and critically-needed funds to fight the crippling disease of Polio, with their Pints for Polio Fundraiser. The event was a joint effort from the Rotary Club of Rock Hill, the Rotary Club of Lake Wylie, the Rotary Club of Indian Land – Lunch, the Rotary Club of Fort Mill, and the Rotary Club of Indian Land (Breakfast).
The effort raised over $2,000 for Rotary International, the volunteer fundraising arm of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative—a public-private partnership that also includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF. In addition, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation agreed to a 2:1 match which will provide a total of more than $6,000 for the eradication of the disease.
Pints for Polio comes at an important time in the fight to eradicate polio, which will 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 poliovirus.
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, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries.
Overall, remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against polio. Since 1988, Rotary has worked to reduce the number of wild polio cases by over 99%, from 350,000 a year to just 33 cases in 2018 and 96 to date in 2019. The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, and Europe in 2002. 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.
For more information on polio, click here.