Raising the flag for World Polio Day

Raising the flag for World Polio Day

Members of the Rotary Club of Oshawa and Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, along with members of Oshawa City Council, took part in a recent flag raising at Oshawa City Hall in honour of World Polio Day on Oct. 24. (Photo by Randy Nickerson)

In honour of World Polio Day 2020, which is widely recognized on Oct. 24, the Rotary Clubs of Oshawa and Oshawa-Parkwood are co-hosting and livestreaming a World Polio Day event, live and direct to your homes, from the new Global Classroom in the new Centre for Collaborative Education at Durham College.

Announced recently by Peter Hernandez, incoming president of the Rotary Club of Oshawa and David Andrews, past president of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, the event will be streamed online on Thursday, Oct. 22 beginning at 7 p.m.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be viewed this year from home by Rotarians from the 10 Rotary clubs in Durham Region and by many civic officials as we livestream the event from the new Global Classroom at Durham College to Durham College’s network of colleges worldwide, and to Rotarians and the public all over the world,” says Andrews.

“After greetings from Durham College and Rotary International, we will watch proclamations, indicating Oct. 24 as World Polio Day, being presented to the 10 Rotary Clubs in Durham Region from Durham Regional Chair John Henry (a fellow Rotarian), and, from the Mayors of the eight municipalities in Durham Region. They all thank the Rotary Clubs in Durham Region for their efforts to raise funds and create awareness about Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio from the face of the earth,” he adds.

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“We will also see the End Polio Now Flag flying high over many of the cities in Durham Region,” adds Hernandez of the Oshawa Rotary Club.

“This year, we are thrilled to be able to see and hear Dr. Bob Scott, past vice president of Rotary International, past chair of the trustees of The Rotary Foundation and past chair of the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee, who will update our worldwide audience about Rotary’s latest efforts to eradicate polio. He will also be talking LIVE with Rotary International Past President Ian Riseley, from his home in Australia, as they discuss what Rotary has done and continues to do, to rid polio from the world,” continues Hernandez.

Andrews says the livestream format will allow questions to be taken from the audience and directed LIVE to both Scott and Riseley.

Those interested in attending the live event can go to https://durhamcollege.ca/globalclass/class/rotary-international-world-polio-day-2/, or Google search “World Polio Day 2020 Global Classroom.” That will link in to the class “Rotary International – World Polio Day.”

“I am so proud of my Rotary Club of Oshawa and the other nine Rotary Clubs here in Durham Region for their efforts in Rotary’s 35-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease, polio,” says Henry.

On Oct 19, Henry helped the 10 Rotary Clubs raise the End Polio Now Flag at Durham Regional Headquarters.

Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter recently joined the two Rotary Clubs of Oshawa and Oshawa-Parkwoood in raising the End Polio Now Flag at Oshawa City Hall.

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The world is on the verge of eliminating one of the most dreaded diseases of the 20th century — poliomyelitis. During the first half of the 20th century, polio crippled over a half a million people every year. Even today, children in some developing countries continue to fall victim to the disease.

However, thanks in large part to Rotary International and to the 1.2 million Rotary members worldwide, including the 10 Durham Region Rotary clubs, the disease will soon be all but a memory.

As World Polio Day draws closer, the world is 99.9 per cent polio-free, however the fight to end polio is not over and Rotary Clubs worldwide continue to raise funds to meet the challenge.

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed $1.9 billion US, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than three billion children. 19 million people are walking on earth who would have been paralyzed. An estimated 650,000 cases are prevented each year. In 2019, more than 430 million children in more than 40 countries were vaccinated using 1.2 billion doses of oral polio vaccine.

“If polio isn’t stopped now, the disease could stage a comeback, affecting an estimated 200,000 children every year. To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising $50 million US per year in support of global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1,” says Hernandez.

“Events like this are happening all over the world on Oct. 24 and throughout this week. Right here in our own Rotary District, in southern Ontario, Canada, flag raising ceremonies will be held in Markham, Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Ajax, and other towns and cities in southern Ontario. There will be a flag raising ceremony at City Hall in Toronto right in the heart of the city, at 11 a.m. on Oct. 24.

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In the evening of World Polio Day, we will also be lighting up the CN Tower, the “Toronto” sign in Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto, and even Niagara Falls will be red, white, and yellow, the colours of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, to raise awareness to our cause and efforts in eradicating this disease,” he adds.


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