An end to polio? |

An end to polio?

by Amanda Roberson

To make a tax-deductible contribution to Summit County’s PolioPlus initiative, send a check to the Rotary Foundation of Summit County for PolioPlus at P.O. Box 4401, Frisco, CO 80443.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County’s Rotary Club has a vision – a world without polio. To make this vision a reality, Rotary members have set a goal to raise $10,000 by Nov. 1 for Rotary International’s PolioPlus world eradication program. The club has raised two-thirds of the money so far.

The Rotary Club’s May TV and Internet auction of goods donated by local businesses raised $4,000-$5,000. Tips collected at the upcoming Coor’s BBQ Challenge in Frisco August 16 and 17 also will benefit PolioPlus.

Local companies and fire departments are pitching in to help the Rotary Club toward its $10,000 goal. Firefighters with the Red, White, and Blue Fire Department contributed a share of the funds they raised at Breckenridge’s July 4th celebration. The firefighters ran food, beer, and game booths.

The Rotary Club is encouraging local companies to support the immunization of local children. Individuals may also make donations to the Rotary Club.

Contributions from major international players such as the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Gates Foundation have helped make worldwide polio eradication a feasible possibility. These funds make it possible for a $1 donation to PolioPlus to deliver $5 of oral polio vaccine to a child.

The Americas recently were certified polio-free, and transmission has been interrupted in the Western Pacific region. Africa and Southeast Asia are two crucial areas that still have incidents of the disease.

Polio is caused by a virus and is passed through poor or careless hygiene, entering the body through the mouth, then multiplying inside the throat and intestines. One it enters the bloodstream, the virus multiplies and destroys the motor neurons that activate muscles. Most children and adults infected with the polio virus suffer only symptoms of a fever, but 1 per cent of polio cases result in paralysis.

“I can remember kids with iron lungs when I was in school,” said Paul Siegert, Summit County Rotary Club’s director of international services. “We chose this disease to target because it’s one that can be eradicated.”

Siegert said he is confident the Rotary Club will reach its $10,000 goal.

“We’ve had an overwhelmingly strong response so far,” he said.

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