On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Peace Bridge will glow purple to shine a light on World Polio Day and Rotary's initiative to eradicate this disease.
Thanks to Rotary clubs in Western New York and Fort Erie, the Peace Bridge - connecting the U.S. and Canada - will be bathed in purple light at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, to bring attention to World Polio Day. This international bridge, which spans the Niagara River connecting Buffalo with Fort Erie, Ontario, will be lit in purple to symbolize the color of the dye placed on a child's finger to show they have been immunized against the disease.
The Rotary Club of Fort Erie spearheaded this cross-border initiative.
Several Rotary Clubs from Western New York and Fort Erie will hold viewing events to watch the Peace Bridge as it shines with purple light. The Rotary Club of Buffalo will host a viewing of the Peace Bridge, as its lighting turns purple, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Buffalo Yacht Club, 1 Porter Ave., Buffalo. Open to the public, the cost is $20 per person (includes food, cash bar). Register at www.buffalonyrotary.org
The Buffalo viewing event will include the Rotary Club of Buffalo, Rotary Club of Kenmore, Rotary Club of Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Buffalo Sunrise Rotary Club, and Roundabout Rotary Buffalo Niagara.
"Ending polio worldwide is such an important issue for us," Rotary Club of Buffalo President Bill Larkin said. "At every meeting, our club contributes the cost of vaccinating 30 children in honor of our speaker that week. On more than one occasion they've mentioned the emotional cost of the disease in their own family history."
Rotary has focused on ending polio since 1985, when it launched the PolioPlus program, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children. Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary's advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $7.2 billion to the effort.
More than 1 million Rotary members have donated their time and personal resources to end polio. Every year, hundreds of Rotary members work side-by-side with health workers to vaccinate children in polio-affected countries. Rotary members work with UNICEF and other partners to prepare and distribute mass communication tools to reach people in areas isolated by conflict, geography or poverty. Rotary members also recruit fellow volunteers, assist with transporting the vaccine, and provide other logistical support.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, formed in 1988, is a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and governments of the world. Rotary's focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness-building. Rotary will raise $50 million per year over a three-year period, with every dollar to be matched with an additional $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Founded in 1911, the Rotary Club of Buffalo's members have used their passion, energy and intelligence to help make Western New York a better place to live. Since 1989, the club has awarded grants totaling more than $1.9 million to Buffalo/Niagara community organizations.