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Help End Polio with the Rotary Club

Updated: Mar 17

(This article appeared in the inaugural Explore Harlingen Magazine, October 2023 issue.)

Rotary International is a network of 1.4 million volunteer members in more than 46,000 clubs worldwide that provide service to others through fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

Rotarians celebrate World Polio Day on October 24, as well as Polio Awareness Month for the entire month of October, each year by advocating, fundraising, and bringing awareness to polio to our communities, and education on the need to end polio now.

Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Harlingen

Per the Rotary Club International website, poliomyelitis, or polio, is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. Polio invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis within hours. It can strike anyone of any age but mainly affects children under the age of five. Polio can be prevented by vaccines, but it is not curable. Unlike most diseases, polio can be eradicated.

Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Harlingen

On October 7, 2023, the Rotary Club of Harlingen will kick off its fundraising campaign by having a Polio Walk at the Harlingen City Lake, at 8 am. It will be followed by a Pies For Polio event right after the walk. At this event, the current club president, Juanita (Juju) Stringfield, will have pies of whipped cream smashed in her face. Anyone can participate by donating $100 per pie. The Pies For Polio event started at the Harlingen Club in 2020 when Wayne Lowry was president and has become an annual tradition.

Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Harlingen

Meanwhile, the Interact club members (Harlingen High School and Harlingen High School South students) will be using purple nail polish to paint your pinky fingernail. The purple pinky nail symbolizes the action taken by medical teams when they immunize a child. The medical teams paint the child’s pinky fingernail using a purple topical dye to let others know that the child has been immunized.

End Polio Now Club Chair Lucy Cadenas stated, “It’s amazing how in 1988 there were over 350,000 cases of polio reported in 125 countries, and to date, there are 7 cases reported in 2 countries. Makes me proud to be associated with an organization that took the challenge to eradicate polio from the face of the earth! We are so close.”

The Rotary End Polio events are open to the public. Look out for other fundraising activities planned by various Rotary clubs such as Pints for Polio, Paella For Polio, an 800-mile motorcycle ride, and many more. For more information, call Lucy Cadenas, End Polio Now Club Chair, at 956-343-2376.


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