The Rotary Club of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff recognizes Oct. 24 as World Polio Day as part of Rotary’s 26-year mission to eradicate the crippling childhood disease polio.

Rotary is close to reaching its goal of raising $200 million by June 2012 in its campaign to match a $355 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The humanitarian service organization has raised more than $180 million to date. The funding will provide critical support to polio eradication activities in parts of Africa and South Asia.

Since 1985, Rotary has contributed more than $1 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries.

A highly infectious disease, polio causes paralysis and is sometimes fatal.  As there is no cure, the best protection is prevention. For as little as US 60 cents worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. After an international investment of more than US$8 billion, and the successful engagement of over 200 countries and 20 million volunteers, polio could be the first human disease of the 21st century to be eradicated. 

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  It includes the support of governments and other private sector donors. 

Rotary invites the public to support the polio eradication initiative by visiting