Rotary Club of Waterville will host a Purple Pinkie Project fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, at Shaw’s Plaza, 251 Kennedy Memorial Drive, Waterville. All funds raised will benefit the Rotary International’s Polio Plus Fund, according to a Rotary news release.

Rotary members in Waterville are among thousands reaching out around World Polio Day to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio — a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today, according to the release.

In developing countries, when children receive the Polio vaccine their pinkies are marked with a temporary purple dye so volunteers know which children have been immunized in that area. It also prevents children from receiving more than one dose. Rotarians will raise money for Polio by offering community members an opportunity to dye their pinkies purple in support of the eradication of polio.

Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative nearly 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to 26 confirmed as of Sept. 19, 2016, according to the release.

To sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, experts say $1.5 billion is urgently needed. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk, according to the release.

“There are only three countries in the world — Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan — that still have active cases of polio, but they are among the most difficult to access. If there are still children in the world at risk, all children are at risk of this crippling disease” said Tina Chapman, president of Rotary Club of Waterville, in the release.

Rotary International has contributed more than US $1.6 billion to ending polio since 1985.

For more information about Rotary Club of Waterville, visit Watervillerotary.com. Visit endpolio.org for more aboutß∑ Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.


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