allan baedak

ROTARY ROUNDUP: Rotary focused on eradicating polio, improving health conditions worldwide

Semiahmoo Peninsula clubs continue to meet via Zoom

This past year is definitely one for the books, and the holiday season is different as well.

As Dr. Bonnie Henry has said, “things are going to be different and they need to be different, but we have to recognize we’re not alone in this.”

December is actually Disease Prevention and Treatment Month on the Rotary calendar. Fighting disease is one of Rotary clubs’ main causes, so members have been promoting proper hand-washing techniques and even providing training and vital medical equipment to health-care providers around the world.

We have set up health camps and training facilities in developing countries and in communities struggling with HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Rotary also raises capital and sweat equity to build the infrastructure for doctors, nurses, governments, and partners to reach the one in six people in the world who can’t afford to pay for health care.

Since 1988, Rotary’s top priority internationally has been the eradication of polio, and in that time Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by 99.9 per cent worldwide. Rotary has contributed more than $2 billion to fight the disease – including matching funds from the Gates Foundation – and at least that many volunteer hours.

Last year at a meeting with Rotarians in Spokane, Wash., Bill Gates said, “You know, we’re going to get to the end of this (polio) and Rotary will be the reason that will happen.”

This year, district chair of Rotary’s ‘polio-plus’ program, and former president of Semiahmoo Rotary Club, Jim Purcell, advised us that the African region was certified free of wild polio virus – showing that eradication is possible and achievable, even in very difficult circumstances.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rotarians here on the Semiahmoo Peninsula and around the world have come together to donate protective gear and supplies to local clinics and hospitals under strain, and have found creative ways to engage and continue meeting virtually so that we can continue with our work – both internationally and right here at home.

You can support local Rotary projects this month by purchasing tickets in the White Rock-Peace Arch Rotary Club Rotary’s Noel 50/50 draw.

The winner will receive half of a skookum jackpot. Tickets can be purchased online at https://rotarynoel50-5pm0.rafflenexus.com and are available until midnight on Sunday Dec. 20. The draw will take place Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 3 p.m.

The Rotaract Club of the Semiahmoo Peninsula (young adults aged 18-30 working together for positive change and learning about leadership) started their annual 12 Days of Kindness this month, delivering flowers and thank-you cards to teachers and staff at local elementary schools and cat food and a cash donation to the BC SPCA; putting together 200 care packages for the Bill Reid shelter at Surrey’s Options; delivering dinner to the local BC Ambulance Service station; picking up garbage in local parks and green spaces; and donating $200 to Sources’ food bank and so much more. Check out their Facebook page to see photos and events.

Consider visiting or even joining one of our clubs this January. All meetings are currently available via Zoom:

• Semiahmoo Rotary meets Thursday mornings at 8 a.m.

• White Rock Rotary meets Tuesdays at noon

• White Rock-Peace Arch Rotary, alternates Mondays at noon/Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

• South Surrey Club meets the first, second and third Wednesday mornings at 7:45 am (socially distanced meetings at Ricky’s on King George Boulevard or participate virtually via Zoom)

• Semiahmoo Peninsula Rotaract Club meets Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.

Allan Baedak writes on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary clubs. Contact him at allan@wpmmedia.ca

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