On a slightly overcast Saturday morning, two dozen hearty members of Kyrene Corridor Rotary Club set out on a five-mile segment of the Arizona Trail, running through the Superstition Mountains on a hike designed not only to raise awareness of Rotary but to help fund polio research.
Arizona Rotarians hike various parts of the renowned trail that runs from the Mexico border to the Utah state line as part of their project “800 miles to end polio now.”
Rod Daniels, president of Chandler North Rotary Club, co-chairs the project and recently addressed his club’s Kyrene Corridor counterparts regarding efforts to raise awareness of the project.
“Arizona Rotarians now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Daniels said. “(Microsoft founder) Bill Gates said eradicating polio will be one of the most significant, public health accomplishments in history.”
Polio is a crippling disease that was once commonplace in the U.S., Daniels noted, and is still an epidemic in four nations: Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria.
Daniels urged members—and participants in the hike scheduled for Nov. 12—to seek pledges in order to make financial contributions to help finance polio-eradication efforts.
“If every Arizona Rotarian secures pledges totaling $100, we will more than exceed our goal,” he said.
Daniels said the project goal is to raise $250,000 to go directly to Rotary International’s End Polio Now campaign.
The money generated by the Arizona Trail project will support Rotary International’s goal of raising $200 million toward polio eradication by June 2012, qualifying the worldwide organization for $355 million in matching grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Kyrene Corridor club’s efforts raised $3,150.
Additionally, other Arizona Rotary clubs still have money that will be coming in from past hikes, Daniels said.
When all pledges have been counted, results of the Rotarians’ combined efforts are expected to be impressive.
“Together, with your help, we are going to raise $250,000 to end polio now.”
Daniels added that Rotarians statewide plan on completing the project on Arizona Statehood Day, Feb. 14.
Those not involved with Rotary can make financial contributions by visiting http://endpolioaz.org .