In the comments of my last blog, I said I'd write my next blog about puppies. Puppies seemed like a nice, innocuous topic that we could all agree on, right? Then, just when I was getting ready to write a blog about puppies, our city was in the middle of a debate about new pet licensing requirements--a debate that got so heated, it made solving our national healthcare problems look like first grade addition. Okay forget the puppies. Is there anything Americans can agree on these days?
You would never know the presidential election was almost a year ago. With the economic woes, bailouts and proposed healthcare reform, we have never stopped yelling at each other and pointing our fingers. The vast amounts of political crankiness have given me a case of writer's block. Normally, if I'm not blogging, I'm working on other projects: writing for other websites, fiction, lists of chores for the kids, grocery lists. Lately, even scratching out that grocery list has become daunting. Now, I just aimlessly wander the newly remodeled aisles of Walmart and hope I stumble across some of the foods my kids actually eat. I'm not sure why that's Washington's fault, but hand that question over to the talking heads at Fox and CNN, and I'm sure they'll find an expert with the answer and which politician to blame.
Can we find an issue to agree on? How about the eradication of a disease from the entire planet? In January 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded Rotary International a $255 million grant for polio eradication, which Rotary will match with $100 million raised by its members and supporters worldwide. If there is a cooler way to spend one's wealth than the eradication of a disease, I haven't thought of one.
Can we really eradicate polio for good? Absolutely! When Rotary began its eradication work in 1985, more than 350,000 children per year were infected with polio. In 2008, fewer than 2,000 cases were reported worldwide. We are so close to eliminating polio from the last four polio-endemic countries of Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. To achieve this goal, every rotary club has been asked to contribute with its own local fundraising and polio awareness activities on October 24th for World Polio Day.
On October 23rd, McCook High School's Interact Club members will be speaking to children at McCook Elementary about the Purple Pinkie Project. In parts of the world where polio remains, children receiving the vaccine have a finger dipped in purple dye to avoid accidentally receiving more than one vaccine dose. With parents' permission, any child at McCook Elementary can have a finger dyed purple. The dye wears off in a few days, and it gives our children a lesson about how local volunteer work makes a difference worldwide. Free will donations for this project are appreciated, as every $1.00 raised covers the cost of one dose of polio vaccine.
On October 24th, McCook Rotary is sponsoring the End Polio Now 5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run. The registration fee is $20, and proceeds from the race will go toward Rotary International's PolioPlus Fund. Registrations can be turned in to Hinze Chiropractic, or on race day, registration will occur from 6:30 to 7:30 am in the United Methodist Church parking lot. The free kids fun run starts at 7:45 am, and the 5K starts at 8:00. This will be a great family event, welcoming all fitness levels. For any questions, call 345-8699, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope blog readers will forgive this long, charity-pushing plug. To make it up to you, here is a link to a video I received from a friend on Facebook. Grab a kleenex, and prepare to be motivated!