Thomas Woods via Crowdrise
October 14, 2011
BENEFITING: Rotary Foundation of Rotary International
EVENT DATE: Oct 09, 2011
My Race to End Polio Now
On 9 October 2011, I plan to run in the Bank of America’s Chicago Marathon. The marathon has a long and storied history dating back to 23 September 1905. That same year, exactly seven months earlier, a small group of men led by a young lawyer named Paul Harris met in an office in Room 711 of the Unity Building on Dearborn Avenue in downtown Chicago. This seemingly unassuming meeting would lead to the founding of one of the world’s largest service organizations, Rotary International. Today, Rotary has over 1.2 million members in over 33,000 clubs representing over 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.
Rotary International’s enduring mission is to eradicate the crippling disease polio so that no child has to suffer its debilitating effects ever again. Not since small pox has a widespread worldwide disease been removed from the face of the Earth. While many thought that Rotary’s mission to entirely eliminate this horrible disease was unthinkable, consider this: when Rotary’s initiative was passed by a resolution of the World Health Assembly in 1988, there were an estimated 350,000 cases in over 125 endemic countries. Today, only four endemic countries remain, with less than 1,300 cases in 2010, a 99 percent reduction in polio cases. Rotary members and supporters have contributed over $1 billion to this effort and are now on the verge of eliminating this crippling childhood disease.
My Race to End Polio Now is a four and a half hour grind over 26.2 miles through the neighborhoods of Chicago, but it is no comparison to the hardships that polio victims suffer.
Once my race has ended, my fatigue has passed and my body has recovered I will be able to return to my normal daily activities. However, for a child with polio there are no normal daily activities and their fight against polio will go on as they struggle every day against this crippling disease. While the Western world has long forgotten the ravages of polio, it cannot turn its back on those who have not. For them, the marathon stretches beyond a few hours of a fall morning, into a daily battle for their lives. Please help me, and the dedicated volunteers of Rotary International, to End Polio Now.