Susan Mielke of Qualicum Beach is shown above in 2013 administering polio drops (vaccine) to a child in Hawassa

Polio battle continues and Parksville Qualicum Beach Rotary clubs members are on the front lines

Local clubs have raised about $50,000 for polio eradication in the past five years

While Canada was certified “polio free” in 1994, Parksville Qualicum Beach Rotary Club members are trying to create that reality for impoverished countries around the globe.

Polio crippled tens of thousands of Canadians until the Salk vaccine was introduced in 1955. The disease peaked in 1953 with nearly 9,000 cases and 500 deaths. Many young people now might not even know of the disease.

“Most people in Canada have no clue (about polio), but if you talk to anyone with grey hair like me, they will remember,” said Susan Mielke, a member of the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach. “I can remember getting the shots. I can remember children who were wheelchair bound.”

Mielke and fellow Rotarian Audrey Bartell travelled to Ethiopia in 2013.

“We went door-to-door and gave polio drops,” said Mielke.

That trip was just one of many for Rotarians locally and worldwide. Through fundraising events like the upcoming Spring Ball

(March 19), Rotary has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the fight against polio.

The total contributions from the four local Rotary clubs is just under $50,000 over the last five years, most of which has been matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the federal government.

Worldwide, Rotary has spent more than

$1 billion and given countless hours of volunteer service to rid the world of polio.

Mielke said it’s important to continue the program.

“Polio is one of those things that will be with us time past and time forward,” she said. “We still have to keep the battle up.”

You can learn more about the Rotary Club’s efforts to eradicate polio at www.rotary.org. The Spring Ball is scheduled for March 19 at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre. Tickets ($80 each or $750 for a table of 10) are available in Qualicum Beach at The Shoe Inn, Captivating Details, Fresh ‘n Fabulous Flowers and The Collective Artists’ Studio and Gallery Place or in Parksville at Close to You.

For more information about the Spring Ball, call 250-752-0270.

Just Posted

Bear sightings up significantly in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Fruit trees number one food attractant, says conservation officer

Qualicum Bay writer Linda Tenney dies after battle with cancer

Celebration of life set for Nov. 2 at Lighthouse Community Centre

Parksville Qualicum Beach legions set to launch Poppy Campaign

Annual fundraiser to run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 11

Parksville Qualicum Beach crime report: Thieves pilfer laptops, tools, big-screen TV, cash and more

Oceanside RCMP received 256 complaints between Sept. 29 and Oct. 5.

Pole-climbing thieves pilfering wire in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Repairs are costly and thefts jeopardize public safety

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for western Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Most Read