Joanne Toone, polio survivor, speaks at a Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach Sunrise polio fundraising event. - Submitted photo

Qualicum Beach Rotary Club raises more than $4,000 at polio fundraiser

Funds were raised at a Perogies for Polio event

The Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach Sunrise recently hosted a fundraiser for Polio called “Perogies for Polio,” a dinner of perogies and Polish sausage.

More than $4,000 was raised which will be matched two to one by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of more than $12,000.

Joanne Toone, polio survivor was the event’s guest speaker.

According to a press release from the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach Sunrise, polio (poliomyelitis) is a disease that has been eradicated in the Western World since around the late 1970s, but in Third World countries, it is still a very real threat.

It is usually spread through contaminated drinking water and affects mostly young children whose immune systems are still relatively weak. It is a highly infectious viral disease that causes inflammation of motor neurons of the spinal cord and brainstem leading to paralysis, muscular atrophy and often permanent deformity of limbs.

In 1985 Rotary International, the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and later joined by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation formed an alliance (The Global Polio Eradication Initiative) to eradicate this disease. At that time there were more than 350,000 cases annually world-wide.

Today, through the leadership of Rotary International and the dedication of the thousands of field workers, doctors and scientists, cases of polio have been reduced by 99.9 per cent with only three countries still reporting cases; Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Rotary International estimates that by 2023, they should have achieved their goal of a polio-free world.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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