Thank you to everyone who participated in our first (annual?) Walk to End Polio at Hawrelak Park!
Neither a pandemic nor -15 degrees temperatures (I heard -20 with windchill?) on Sunday morning could stop 17 of us from getting together at Hawrelak Park Sunday morning for a 2.5km loop around the park, raising funds to End Polio.
More than anything, this was probably the largest group of us that got together in person since January or February, so it was a great opportunity to meet again, safely outdoors and with masks, of course. The masks served a dual-function of keeping our faces from hurting!
What made this walk special was having our member, John Vrolijk, with us all the way. John suffered from Polio at a young age and spent seven months in an iron lung. Despite his age and diminished lung capacity he did the full walk around the park, with his cane. John is truly an inspiration for not only an individual battling Polio, but also society's and science's achievement of beating this terrible childhood illness, which left many from John's generation with lifelong ailments, and in some cases even permanent disabilities.
Most of us born in the western world in the past 50 years haven't even considered Polio as a major thing, and that's a good thing! In the developing world though it continued to be endemic, but thanks to the efforts of Rotary, Bill & Melinda Gates, and other End Polio partners, this disease is almost eradicated. One good piece of news to come out of 2020 is that the disease, in its wild form, has been eradicated in the entire continent of Africa. Globally, only Afghanistan and maybe Pakistan remain as places where wild poliovirus type 1 transmission remains. Progress in Africa (in particular Nigeria) proves that full eradication is achievable!
You can donate to the Polio Fund of the Rotary Foundation Canada (and receive a Canadian charitable tax receipt) here