Loonies for Life a passion for Rotary

Eradication of polio around the world is a major goal for Rotarians and Stephen Pellizzari is the local club's leader

Stephen Pellizzari is the local Rotary Club's director for Rotary International

Stephen Pellizzari is the local Rotary Club's director for Rotary International

The eradication of polio around the world is a passion of the Rotary Club of 100 Mile House and Rotary International (RI).

“Polio vaccine is about 70 cents a dose, so for less than a dollar you can save a kid’s life,” says local Rotarian Stephen Pellizzari.

Rotary members from around the world volunteer, visit the countries and help administer the vaccine, he adds.

“Hopefully, we can soon say that it is completely eradicated. Rotary is unique with its efforts and we came extremely close.”

When Rotary International started the polio-eradication program more than 350,000 children worldwide were affected by the disease. In 2008, fewer than 2,000 children were infected, a reduction of 99 per cent.

To help with these efforts, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $255 US million to Rotary International in the effort to eradicate polio.

“Rotary has raised about $212 million to date, towards the polio challenge,” Pellizzari says, adding this amount will be matched by the Gates Foundation.

“Locally, our campaign still continues, as we try to do our part in this global effort.”

Rotary has re-coined the phrase Pennies for Polio to Loonies for Life and he says they take folding money, too.

“For less than a loonie you can save a life. We encourage everyone to donate.”

For more information, contact Pellizazri 250-395-4545 or talk to any local Rotarian.