A new awareness campaign for survivors of Polio will be launched in Winchester this Autumn, signaling an innovative partnership between Winchester Rotary and The British Polio Fellowship that will help educate the public about Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), as well as raising further funds for End Polio Now.
The British Polio Fellowship will launch its first annual Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) day in Winchester on Saturday 26th October, with a range of activities showcasing the work of the charity. The British Polio Fellowship will use the inaugural PPS Day to highlight the debilitating condition affecting more than 120,000 people in the UK (around the same number as Parkinson’s).
As part of Rotary International’s End Polio Now project to eradicate polio globally, Winchester Rotary will be handing 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. With 99% of polio eradicated worldwide, we are so close to achieving the aim and Winchester people have the opportunity to contribute and help Rotary worldwide make a real difference. Given what Rotary is doing for End Polio Now, it makes total sense for us to also help raise awareness of those who have survived Polio and who need our understanding and support. Through the connection of our President-Elect Gill Russell, we very much hope to play our part in making the first ever PPS Day a great success. “
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”.
David Leeks, a British Polio Fellowship Trustee and ex-Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, will visit Winchester Rotary on Monday 23rd September to tell members about how the charity assists Polio survivors and to explain more about PPS.
Ted Hill MBE, Chief Executive of The British Polio Fellowship, said: “We would like to thank Winchester Rotary in helping us get our message across. 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 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.