A student-led fundraising campaign, “Pennies for Polio,” will take place at Marymount College in Rancho Palos Verdes, on Oct. 21 and 22. Rotaractors will be collecting pocket change from campus students, faculty and staff to provide polio vaccines to children living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria, the only remaining areas of polio victims.
The Rotaract Club, sponsored by the Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary Club, will be collecting funds as part of the Rotary International (RI) effort to end polio. A sixty-cent donation will provide the life-saving vaccine for one child. RI has raised over a Billion dollars to end polio by 2012 and recently received a $350 Million challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to achieve this goal.
Rotaract is a Rotary-sponsored service club for young men and women ages 18 to 30. Rotaract clubs are either community based or Rotary club sponsored university organizations.
Polio is a contagious, historically devastating disease that was virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. Although polio has plagued humans since ancient times, its most extensive outbreak occurred in the first half of the 1900s before the vaccination, created by Jonas Salk, became widely available in 1955.
At the height of the polio epidemic in 1952, nearly 60,000 cases with more than 3,000 deaths were reported in the United States alone. However, with widespread vaccination, wild-type polio, or polio occurring through natural infection, was eliminated from the United States by 1979 and the Western hemisphere by 1991.