The following report to the district was written by Ellen G. Young (Lincolnshire Morning Star), who is chair of the Polio Challenge for District 6440:


The Gates Challenge Campaign to finally eradicate polio has been underway for nearly three full years and District 6440 has answered the call with resounding enthusiasm.  District 6440’s clubs have raised a total of $427,944 as of October 25 (before the on line-giving initiative was tabulated), including $30,000 in DDF funds during last year.  Your generosity and selfless support has put us in fifth place among  58 Rotary districts in the U.S.—a feat for which our district is immensely grateful.


But we’re not finished yet – we need 100 per cent participation to finish the job – to raise awareness and enthusiasm in our clubs, among our friends and acquaintances, in our communities and across our entire Rotarian sphere of influence. 



As Rotarians, it is our job to carry the message of hope to parts of the world which don’t usually touch our everyday lives.  As Rotarians, consider whether it is our duty to respond when a child in Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, or Afghanistan gets polio because the vaccine didn’t get to them in time?   We have a duty as Rotarians to do more than others to address issues of disease, world hunger, clean water, literacy, and peace because we’ve been made aware of these needs – and we have a network of support throughout our Rotarian world.  The difference is, we have the financial means, the imagination, and the operational knowhow to get things done – when the need exists and persists, as it does now.


Chicago area Rotarians have been working to eradicate polio since the early 1950’s when they provided refrigerated transport to move the newly developed Salk vaccine safely from manufacturing sites to the cities where anxious families awaited a chance to get a protective dose of vaccine to their children.  Chicago Rotarians responded again in the mid 1980’s when the Polio Plus campaign was launched to try to eradicate the disease in our lifetimes.  We’ve been challenged again by Bill Gates to finish the job – and we’re “This Close” to doing it – by the end of 2012.  With $150 million of the $200 million challenge grant raised so far, and a great showing thus far in the campaign, we each need to take a personal interest in this mission, considering how we might have felt in 1952 when the disease was at its height, and empathize with the worried parents overseas as though we were there ourselves.


As Rotarians, isn’t it our responsibility to go the extra mile to put the needs of others ahead of ourselves – to mobilize our communities to  solve problems and make our neighbors aware of their global responsibilities – to share Rotary’s vision of improving the lives of people throughout the world?


Isn’t it time for Rotarians to realize that “Mankind is our Business” and that now is the time to pull together to finish the job of eradicating Polio?


Have you and your Club done your part to claim a share of Rotary’s legacy once polio is eradicated?   IF NOT, THERE’S STILL TIME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!