In honor of World Polio Day, the Rotary Club of Kona will hold a fundraiser on Sunday at the Kona Denny’s Restaurant to raise funds to eradicate this disease. Denny’s is a partner in efforts to raise money for this cause.
The event will include guest servers who will help drum up excitement and serve food with the Denny’s staff. Guests are invited to stop by for dinner at any time between 4 and 9 p.m.
Kona Denny’s will donate 20 percent of the food and beverage sales and 100 percent of the guest servers’ tips earned that evening.
“Rotary greeters will be on hand to make sure this is a memorable meal for diners,” said club spokeswoman Cheryl Holdcroft.
Rotary, a humanitarian service organization with nearly 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, made polio eradication its top priority in 1985. As the volunteer arm and lead private sector contributor in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Rotary has since contributed more than U.S. $1 billion, and its members have logged countless volunteer hours to help immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries.
“The extraordinary dedication of Rotary members has played a critical role in bringing polio to the brink of eradication,” said Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Eradicating polio will be one of the most significant public health accomplishments in history, and we are committed to helping reach that goal.”
Rotary Club of Kona President Alan Clark views Rotary’s fundraising efforts as a way to fulfill the organization’s promise of a polio-free world.
“Twenty years ago, Rotary made a pledge to end this crippling and potentially fatal disease – once and for all. As we stand on the brink of victory, we will do everything within our power to fulfill this promise to the children of the world.”
Progress has been achieved in the fight against polio. Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 a year to fewer than 2,000 in 2008. Today, 90 percent of the world’s population lives in polio-free countries.
The Americas were declared free from polio in 1994, the Western Pacific region in 2000, and Europe in 2002.
A highly infectious disease, polio still strikes children mainly under the age of 5 in Africa and South Asia. Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. As there is no cure for polio, the best protection is prevention.
The GPEI is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).