Published in the September 11, 2015 edition.

WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Rotary Club will be hosting at table at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market on Saturday, September 12

The club hopes to raise public awareness about the worldwide movement to eradicate polio. Endemic to 3 remaining countries, polio outbreaks have appeared in more countries this year mostly in areas of conflict. The club will be offering visitors a change to take the “Purple Pinkie Pledge.” Club Polio Chair Amy Luckiewicz explained, “When our health workers and volunteers visit countries, they typically dye children’s pinkie fingers purple to indicate that the child was vaccinated. We’re going to use a little ink pad to allow children and adults to stain their pinkies and we hope people will ask them why they’re purple.”

For as little as US$0.60 a child can receive the life-saving polio vaccine. “We hope people donate the 60 cents and with a 2:1 match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that person will save 3 lives,” Luckiewicz explained.

The event is the kick off to the club’s 6-month campaign to raise awareness and funds for polio. Last year over 30 Wakefield club members and friends participated in the area-wide Polar Plunge and dunked into the ice cold waters off Cape Ann in Gloucester. Luckiewicz continued, “Our Wakefield team raised the most money in all of the participating clubs last year.” Passing the $20k mark for the second time in a row,  was twice beyond what the club expected last year. Looking forward to this year’s January 23rd plunge she added, “We raised the goal to $25k this year, now that we know what we can really do.”

To make a donation or plunge with the Wakefield team in January, please contact the club at or visit them at their booth on September 12th at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market.

About The Rotary Foundation’s Efforts to Eradicate Polio

Since 1985, Polio has become the signature cause for Rotary International as it has teamed up with partners including; The Global Poverty Project, The Global Eradication Initiative, The World Health Organization, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to name a few. The disease was prevalent here in the United States in the years following the first two world wars.  Since then, efforts have been spearheaded by Rotary International to eradicate polio, beginning with the Philippines.

On the success of the Philippines endeavour, Rotary International (R.I.) embarked on the mission to eradicate Polio from the world entirely. Since that time, more than a billion dollars has been raised among Rotary clubs worldwide and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  When R.I. took on the battle against this disease more than 350,000 people spanning 125 countries were impacted. Today there are three countries left where it has not been eradicated, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

The year 2012 was an historic year in the battle against polio as 429 million children have been vaccinated against the disease.  Less than 300 cases of polio were reported in 2012.  That figure represents a decline of more than 60% from 2011. In order for a country to be certified as having the disease eradicated, it must sustain three successive years of zero new cases of polio reported within its population.

The Wakefield Rotary Club has been participating in raising money and awareness for polio eradication for over a decade. To date, the club has contributed over $50k in donations and countless hours of volunteer time to raise awareness about polio eradication efforts world-wide.