How does the money raised combat polio?
Generally speaking, the money Rotary International raises, along with a challenge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, goes to providing polio vaccine infrastructure. A good example is in India. Two or three times a year they vaccinate 170 million children. Our government, and the British, buy the vaccines. Rotary money goes towards getting the vaccine there, contacting the parents, getting the volunteers there... you can imagine what an army of people you have to put together.
Do countries with polio have Rotary?
Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the last four polio-endemic countries, and there are Rotary clubs in each of them, so the volunteers come from the country where we’re vaccinating. Only 30 percent of the 1.2 million Rotarians in clubs worldwide are from the U.S.
Are you going to hear the speaker, consultant Michael Angelo Caruso?
Oh yes, I’m a broker of printing and graphic design and I’ve heard him before. He’s very innovative, talks a lot about using video and electronic tools like e-mail and Twitter to make business grow in tough economic times. His seminar usually costs $150. But he’s a Rotarian, and doing this at no cost to us, so we cut the price to $40.
Are you old enough to remember polio in America?
I am. I had three cousins who had polio, and the building’s still standing. It was Knoxville General Hospital in North Knoxville, now it’s Serenity Manor. Two of them were in there in iron lungs. You could look through the window and see them, not my cousins, but the iron lungs.
Does that experience make you more committed to Polio Plus?
Oh, yes. Yes, it sure does.
“How to Profit Even in Slow Times,” Oct. 1, 8:30 a.m.-noon, Regal Riviera Theater on Gay St., tickets at email@example.com or 523-8252