One Day.  One Focus.  Ending Polio”

The Smoketown Rotary Club of Brunswick, Maryland will mark historic progress toward a polio-free world by joining millions on World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds and support to end the paralyzing disease – a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.  World Polio Day is observed in late October to honor the birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the development of the first polio vaccine.

On Wednesday, October 24th, 2018, members of Smoketown Rotary Club will accentuate World Polio Day by leading a bike ride from the Brunswick Boat Ramp to Harpers Ferry and back. We invite all interested people to join us and to share this event with family & friends. The group will meet at 3:30pm at the Brunswick Boat Ramp Parking Lot. The Brunswick Wednesday Night Ride Group, including the owners of Three Point Cycles, will serve as the official guides and safety crew for the ride.

Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative thirty years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to just 50 year-to-date 2018.  To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million per year over the next three years in support of global polio eradication efforts.

“Smallpox is the only human disease ever eradicated.  Let’s make polio the second”, proclaims Rotary Club of Smoketown, Brunswick, Maryland President Judy Couillard.  “You can TRIPLE your impact.  Thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match by Smoketown Rotarian Sue Kelley, a Principal of Kelley Real Estate Professionals in Middletown, AND a 2:1 match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, every donation made to Rotary to end polio will be tripled!”

Polio remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.  Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio, especially vulnerable countries with weak public health and immunization services and travel or trade links to endemic countries.

Outbreak countries – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syrian Arab Republic, Somalia, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea – are those that have stopped indigenous wild poliovirus, but are experiencing re-infection through the importation of wild poliovirus from another country.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners – the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Since its inception, the GPEI has engaged 20 million volunteers, invested US$14 billion, vaccinated over 2.5 billion children – all toward a goal of a polio-free world.

Tax-deductible contributions to the END POLIO NOW initiative can be made payable to the Rotary Foundation, and mailed to the Smoketown Rotary Club of Brunswick, Post Office Box 84, Brunswick, MD 21716.

To learn more about this and other upcoming initiatives, visit