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Sub West Rotary Salutes UWF and Raises $4,212 to Help Eradicate Polio Worldwide

UWF Athletic Director Dave Scott (upper right) and members of Pensacola Sub West Rotary
UWF Athletic Director Dave Scott (upper right) and members of Pensacola Sub West Rotary

PENSACOLA, Fla. - As part of Rotary International’s pledge to match, dollar-for-dollar, a $100 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over three years, the Rotary club of Pensacola Suburban West raised $4,212 to end polio worldwide.  The club’s challenge was to “Dress the Prez” Rick Lambert at their discretion if they met their goal of $2000. The project committee upped the challenge to $4000 with a pledge to also dress themselves for the occasion. Both goals were exceeded.

To salute a respected community partner, University of West Florida, the president and committee dressed for the day as UWF Argonauts. UWF Athletic Director, Dave Scott, was on hand for the occasion.

Rotary, a humanitarian service organization with nearly 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, made polio eradication its top priority in 1985. As the volunteer arm and lead private sector contributor in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Rotary has since contributed more than $800 million, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries.

“The extraordinary dedication of Rotary members has played a critical role in bringing polio to the brink of eradication,” says Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Eradicating polio will be one of the most significant public health accomplishments in history, and we are committed to helping reach that goal.”

Sub West campaign chairman Mac Parker views Rotary’s fundraising efforts as a way to fulfill the organization’s promise of a polio-free world. “Twenty years ago, we made a pledge to end this crippling and potentially fatal disease – once and for all. As we stand on the brink of victory, Rotarians will do everything within our power to fulfill this promise to the children of the world. We challenge all the Rotary clubs in Pensacola to meet and to exceed our recent effort to end polio now!”

Remarkable progress has been achieved in the fight against polio. Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 a year to less than 2,000 in 2008. Today, 70 percent of the world’s population lives in polio-free countries. The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, and Europe in 2002.
A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of five in countries in Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. As there is no cure for polio, the best protection is prevention. For as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected against polio for life.

The GPEI is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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