Planting Purple for Polio!

World Polio Day was 24th October and the occasion was marked by Rotary Ireland with the planting of around 150,000 crocuses in locations across Ireland which will set the landscape ablaze with ‘Purple for Polio’ when they bloom in the spring.

The Rotary Club of Comber took part by planting 5,000 crocuses at Glen Link, Comber, this brings the total number of crocuses planted by the club to 25,000 over the last few years.

The Rotary Club of Comber planted the purple crocus corms in conjunction with Ards & North Down Borough Council and the Comber Regeneration Community partnership. The project provides a wonderful opportunity for those involved to get active, have fun and raise awareness through talking to lots of different people about the need to eradicate the life threatening and disabling polio disease worldwide.

The eradication of Polio is Rotary’s primary project, partnered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who triple all fundraising by Rotarians worldwide, and the World Health Organisation.

Polio will be only the second virus, next to smallpox, to ever be eradicated. Whilst tremendous progress has been made, the final steps on any journey are often the some of the hardest, to date there have been 20 wild polio virus cases this year, nothing but compete eradication can stop this awful disease from returning, this is not a third world problem, this is a global problem and the speed at which this virus can spread means even Ireland could see it’s return.

  In 1986 1000 children a day were contracting Polio, so far this year, there are only 15 reported cases worldwide and Polio is only endemic in three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, 20 other countries are classed as either ‘key-at-risk’ or ‘outbreak’ countries.

While Northern Ireland’s last recorded case of Polio was in 1982 there are many survivors, who live every day the lasting and debilitating effects of Post-Polio Syndrome.

Symptoms include muscle and joint pain, lack of strength and increased muscle weakness, fatigue, breathing and swallowing problems, and severe intolerance to cold weather. There are an estimated 7,000 survivors of polio in Ireland today.

Rotary are People of Action and they have set out to make a real difference to the lives of both those in their local communities and those further afield who really need their help. For more information about getting involved please visit www.comberrotary.org or contact rotaryireland@gmail.com

Story by: PB

 



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