Wakefield Rotary Helps to End Polio Now

A hallmark of The Rotary Foundation, the End Polio Now campaign to erradicate polio world-wide, is 99% complete with its mission. Only the second disease to be erradicated from the planet, polio continues to threaten Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. The Rotary Foundation has led the efforts to eradicate polio since 1985 and has developed strategic partnerships including The World Health Organization, UNICEF, Center for Disease Control, international advocates, and local governments. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to be the largest financial supporter for the eradication effort and has provided grants totalling $555 million to The Rotary Foundation for vaccination and awareness campaigns.

Locally, the Wakefield Rotary Club supports the erradication and awareness efforts. This year, five members of the Wakefield Rotary Club successfully completed the Third Annual Polar Plunge for Polio to raise awareness and funds for polio eradication.  Tom Stapleton, Ed Harding, Terry Holmgren, Shibu James and Amy Luckiewicz were joined by Wakefield High School Senior Alison Marsh and Derry, NH native Kathryn Labranche for the mid-February dip at Long Beach in Gloucester. The team surpassed their fundraising goal by collecting $5,432.  The Wakefield Club was just one of 47 district clubs to contribute to the total $62,000 collected during the plunge event. The club also received Rotary District and Zone acknowledgements for raising the most money for the event.

First time plunger Terry Holmgren after his first dip in the fridged waters.

First time plunger Terry Holmgren after his first dip in the fridged waters.

First time plunger Ed Harding explained, “At just 60 cents a vaccine, we wanted to make sure we had an impact. The money we raised translates to 9,053 vaccines for children. It was a great feeling to know we literally had a hand in preventing a crippling disease from affecting a child.” For first time plunger Terry Holmgren, the event was inspiring, “It was overwhelming to see how many people from all over the district participated in this event. I was amazed to see people of all ages and travelling many miles come to jump into frigid water for a cause.”

Click here to donate NOW!
Click here for our Facebook Polar Plunge for Polio Photo Gallery.
Click here for more information on The Rotary Foundation’s amazing journey to erradicate polio.
Click here for the full article from Wakefield Patch.
Click here for a video of our 2013 Plunge!