On October 24 the Drumheller Rotary Club counted pennies they collected for the Pennies for Polio Campaign, a Rotary Club International effort to stamp out polio for good.
Polio is an infectious viral disease that could result in muscle weakness or paralysis should it enter the central nervous system.
The disease has been present through much of human history, but it wasn’t until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the number of cases of polio dramatically increased to epidemic proportions.
Efforts by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and Rotary International have nearly eradicated the disease. The number of cases in 2001 was 483, compared to roughly 350,000 in 1988.
Despite being close to defeated, polio has experienced a resurgence in developing countries. The virus remains epidemic in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
Rotary International hopes to raise over $200 million dollars by June 30, 2012. The money will be used to provide vaccinations against polio.
Residents of the Valley chipped in by donating pennies at the Drumheller Health Centre, Scotiabank, and the Rotary Radio Auction at Greentree Mall.
Everyone who donated at the DHC were able to enter an draw to win a “End Polio Now” t-shirt. The winner of the draw was Garrison Krabsen.
The number of pennies collected added up to $375.11, which will be enough to immunize 625 children against the polio virus.