QC Rotary Clubs unite to celebrate World Polio Day

End Polio Now Rotary

Rotary Clubs in eastern Iowa and western Illinois will host a World Polio Day banquet on Monday, Oct. 23, at the Quad City Botanical Center, 2525 Fourth Ave., Rock Island. 

Speakers are John Ockenfels and Peter Teahan, a pair of eastern Iowa pilots who have traveled the world to raise awareness of polio eradication. 

Mr. Ockenfels and Mr. Teahan are among just 700 fliers to ever have flown the entire globe, according to their website. ​Through their Around the World Flight to End Polio, they have visited 23 countries and raised more than $1.5 million to help End Polio Now.

The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 with $7.50 of each ticket going to Polio Plus. To register, contact Sue Rector, a vice president for the Rock Island Rotary, at [email protected].

Rotary International has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years, the organization said in a news release. And the goal of ridding the world of this disease is closer than ever.

As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9% since its first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. 

Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly 3 billion children in 122 countries from this paralyzing disease, according to the release. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by governments to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.

Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But it’s crucial to continue working to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year. 

Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders. Rotary provides humanitarian services, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world.

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