If you see the Rotary Club logo projected on the courthouse this evening, you might be wondering why.
Rotary members in Newnan are among millions reaching out on World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio – a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.
The World Polio Day celebration will be streamed live from Philadelphia. The program will highlight progress in the eradication program and the work that remains to wipe it out completely.
Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to just 22 cases in 2017.
The worldwide effort has reduced the number of reported cases of polo by 99.9 percent, according to Rotary International. So far this year, only 20 new cases have been reported: 15 in Afghanistan and five in Pakistan.
To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year in support of global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1.
The Rotary Club of Newnan has raised $9,876.98 and with the Gates Foundation match, the Rotary Club of Newnan has raised $18,458.98, which means the club has vaccinated almost 18,500 children.
“The Rotary Club of Newnan is committed to helping eradicate polio,” said Newnan Club President Cathy Wright. “When you have members and their family members who were affected by this disease, it is easy to want to make sure that future generations never have to experience what they did.”
The club aims to raise $1,000 between now and next June to vaccinate 3,000 children with the Gates Foundation match.
Rotary International has contributed more than $1.8 billion to ending polio since 1985.
Without full funding and political commitment, members say the paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.
The Rotary Club of Newnan is a community service organization focusing on “service above self.” The club meets weekly on Fridays at noon at the Newnan Country Club located at 1356 US-29. Guests are always welcome.