Press release

Four area Rotary Clubs in Door and Kewaunee counties will mark historic progress toward a polio free world while urging the community support to end the paralyzing disease. The Rotary Clubs of Door County North, Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay, and Sturgeon Bay Breakfast with the aid of local businesses established the initiative “A Cup of Joe to End Polio.”

Beginning Saturday (Oct. 12) and continuing through Sunday (Oct. 20), participating coffee houses and restaurants throughout Door and Kewaunee counties are donating 25 cents for each cup of coffee sold. Area clubs will match the amount contributed by these restaurants, increasing the donation per cup of coffee sold to 50 cents. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will then match these contributions two to one, which increases the gift to $1.50 per cup of Joe.

Participating businesses include Kick Ash Coffee in Ellison Bay; Analog Coffee, Base Camp Coffee, Chop, Lure, Pasta Vino, Discourse Coffee, and Goose & Twig in Sister Bay; Ephraim Coffee Lab in Ephraim; Blue Horse, The Cookery, Julie’s Café, and W.A.K.E. M.E. in Fish Creek; Bearded Heart Coffee and Baileys 57 in Baileys Harbor; Big Easy Bagel and Beignet, Buttercups, Chocolate Chicken, Double Delites, Greens and Grains and Pink Bakery in Egg Harbor; Door County Coffee & Tea in Carlsville; 5th & Jefferson Coffee House, Brick Lot, Crate, Kick Coffee, and Scaturo’s Baking Company & Café in Sturgeon Bay; Café Tlazo and Dairy Deans in Algoma; Village Café in Casco; Harbor Grounds in Kewaunee; and, Rosie’s Café in Luxemburg.

Local Rotary members are among thousands worldwide reaching out to raise awareness, funds, and support to end polio – a vaccine preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today. Success of this and other worldwide initiatives will be celebrated on World Polio Day, Thursday, Oct. 24.

Rotary’s long-term, sustained battle against polio has defined Rotary International for decades. The progress is real and noteworthy. In 1988, polio was endemic in 125 countries, with more than 350,000 new cases each year worldwide. 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 just 37 cases in 2016.

+ Rotary vaccinated more than 2.5 billion children against the virus.

+ Vaccination prevented 18 million cases of paralysis.

To sustain this progress and protect all children from polio, Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million per year over the next three years in support of global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match Rotary’s commitment 2:1.

Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Of the three types of poliovirus, type 2 has been eradicated and type 3 could soon be certified as eradicated. Nigeria has not reported a case of wild poliovirus in nearly three years. If this trend holds, just one type of wild poliovirus will remain in one section of the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan. While we face major challenges in this region, we will end polio forever if we remain steadfast and vigilant.

Rotary has contributed more than $1.6 billion to ending polio since 1985, including $7,510 contributed by local Rotary Clubs in recent years. When you help us reach our goal through a “Cup of Joe to End Polio,” polio will become only the second human disease eradicated on the planet. Mark Daniel Maloney, president of Rotary International, summarized why Rotary is committed to eradicating polio: “What matters most is the children who will never again have to face this disabling and debilitating virus.”

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

Photo: A Rotary worker colors the nail of a child to signify that she has been inoculated with the polio vaccine.