Saturday 26 October will see the first ever Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) Day in Winchester. The joint initiative between Winchester Rotary and The British Polio Fellowship will be formally launched by the Mayor, Cllr Ernie Jeffs outside the Guildhall at 11.30am.
While The British Polio Fellowship will be located on Broadway outside the Guildhall, Winchester Rotary will be on High Street spreading the word and raising money for ‘End Polio Now’ so it made a lot of sense for the two to join forces. Thursday 24th is World Polio Day and it is hoped PPS Day will become a nationwide annual event, to mark the 75th Anniversary of the British Polio Fellowship in 2014.
“We are all very much looking forward to meeting our friends from Winchester Rotary, the Mayor and indeed the people of Winchester on the 26th for this inaugural PPS Day,” said Ted Hill, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “This event is very much a taster of some of the plans we have for our 75th Anniversary next year and we are grateful to Winchester Rotary for inviting us along.”
As part of Rotary International’s End Polio Now project to eradicate Polio globally, Winchester Rotary will hand out purple crocuses, the emblem of the vaccination campaign, in exchange for donations. Rotary International recently announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match 2 for 1 every dollar Rotary commits, up to US$35 million to Polio eradication through 2018.
Nick Bell, President of Winchester Rotary, comments: “We have raised considerable amounts for End Polio Now and are grateful to the generosity of the city’s visitors and residents who have shown an interest in Polio eradication. It is important not to forget those living with Polio so it is a pleasure to help The British Polio Fellowship with PPS Day and advance of their 75th Anniversary next year.”
Post Polio Syndrome or PPS is a debilitating condition affecting more than 120,000 people in the UK (around the same number as Parkinson’s) yet remains a forgotten condition for many.
The British Polio Fellowship in partnership with Winchester Rotary will be looking to chance perceptions and will have a range of materials and information sheets on hand, while the charity’s 48 sheet Advan will be parked outside the Guildhall on Saturday.
Gill Russell, Winchester Rotary’s President-Elect and herself a Polio survivor, comments: “I contracted polio in 1954, at the age of two, just around the time that the vaccination programme took off. I was fortunate in some ways, as the disease only affected one side of my body. But I lost the use of my left arm and underwent corrective surgery on my left leg several times during my childhood. As recently as 2009, I had further surgery to save my collapsing left ankle – a indication of the effects of the damage the disease causes even in later life. It is vital that we not only eliminate Polio, but also ensure that those who have contracted it (almost always young children) continue to be helped. Not only the 120,000 older survivors in the UK – but also the very many more recent victims in other parts of the world”.
“We would like to thank Winchester Rotary for helping us get our message across,” added Ted. “End Polio Now is a fantastic venture with an overall mission that we wholeheartedly support. Whilst the need to prevent further Polio outbreaks is well documented, we also want people to remember those who will be living with the after effects of Polio and PPS for many decades to come.”
More information about Winchester Rotary can be found at www.winchesterrotary.ning.com or you can email the Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on The British Polio Fellowship, visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call
0800 043 1935.