09/01/08 — Rotary clubs taking aim at ending polio

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Rotary clubs taking aim at ending polio

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 1, 2008 12:21 PM

Rotary clubs throughout Wayne and Greene counties are teaming up for the next month to help in the international fight to eradicate polio.

Sponsoring a "Dining Out Extravaganza" raffle, the clubs are selling $5 tickets for the opportunity to win a grand prize of $750 in local restaurant gift certificates.

The winner will be drawn on Sept. 24.

Clubs in Goldsboro -- including Goldsboro and Goldsboro Three Eagles -- Mount Olive, Fremont and Snow Hill, representing nearly 150 Rotarians, are participating in the effort.

The local goal is $15,000. Internationally, the 1.2 million Rotarians are hoping to raise enough money to match a $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation. It's a target that is expected to take at least three years to meet.

"I am excited that so many clubs in our local communities are willing to work so hard to fight polio," said Assistant District Governor Tim Finan. "This will be a three-year effort in Wayne County and Greene County, and I am confident we will be supported by all our wonderful citizens in each year of our campaign."

Rotary International has been fighting polio for two decades.

In the 1980's, a thousand children were infected every day as polio existed in 125 countries. Today, polio has been reduced by 99%, with only 2,000 cases being reported in 2006. Two billion children have been immunized, and over 250,000 deaths from polio have been prevented.

Still, said, Jonathan Majiyagbe, Foundation Chair of Rotary International, "No matter where we live, until polio is eradicated worldwide, the disease will remain only a plane ride away.

"That's why every community -- and every Rotary Club -- has a stake in ending polio once and for all."

Tickets can be purchased from any Rotarian. For more information call Goldsboro Rotary President Leslie Weil at 734-1111 ext 228.