by: SUBMITTED - KeddieThis Thursday is World Polio Day, and so it seems like an appropriate time for us to say “thank you” to the Wilsonville community. At this year’s Wilsonville Rotary Summer Concerts you helped us raise a grand total of $6,027.23 so that Rotary International and its partners can end polio forever.

A dose of vaccine costs 60 cents. So, the $6,027 donated this year by concert-goers will protect 10,045 children against ever getting this terrible disease. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match this money two-for-one, thereby increasing the power of your donations. That means 30,135 children will be protected — all because of you.

Thank you for making such a positive impact.

Why is ending polio so important? Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease that is still a threat in the Third World. It strikes children, mainly under the age of 5.

Once the person is infected, there is no cure. The primary prevention method is vaccination. There are two types of vaccine — oral and injectable.

The earliest recorded evidence of polio was carved in stone nearly 35 centuries ago on an Egyptian stele. It shows a man with a withered leg and a drop foot, leaning on a crutch.

Paralysis of one or more limbs with the atrophy of the muscles is the result of poliomyelitis. For centuries, polio was endemic everywhere. Then the polio vaccine was developed and we managed to eliminate it throughout the developed world. However, in 1988, there were still 350,000 cases in 125 other countries.

That year, the World Health Assembly voted unanimously to eradicate polio from the face of the earth by 2005. Rotary International set a goal of raising $120 million to help with the project. At its 1988 convention, it was announced that the dollars raised topped $247 million. Rotary’s partners in the eradication campaign are: World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and 166 countries around the world.

Since then, we’ve made tremendous progress. Today, polio is endemic in only three countries — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. India is the most recent country to be certified polio-free.

Having made it this far, we must continue the fight. We are almost to our goal. If polio isn’t eradicated, the world will live with the threat of the disease. More than 10 million children will be paralyzed in the next 40 years.

Recent outbreaks in the previously polio-free countries of Somalia and Kenya demonstrate that this is a real threat — but one we can defeat if we make the investment.

A recent study estimates the $9 billion global investment in a polio-free world will net an economic benefit of $40 to 50 billion over the next 20 years.

Before all is said and done, Rotary’s financial contributions to global polio eradication will reach $1.2 billion. That’s a big number. But everything that happens in Rotary ultimately begins at the local level — in communities just like Wilsonville. That’s why we deeply appreciate the way the Wilsonville community has supported our efforts.

To learn more about polio eradication, visit To learn more about Wilsonville Rotary, visit We meet every Thursday at noon at Al Kader Shrine Center, and guests are always welcome to join us for lunch.

Reg Keddie is a Wilsonville resident and a past district governor for Rotary District 5100, which serves Rotary clubs in northern Oregon and southern Washington. He is also a past president of Wilsonville Rotary.

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