Campbell River Rotary auctions off pumpkins for polio

The Rotary Club of Campbell River reached out on World Polio Day (Oct. 24) to raise awareness, funds and support to end polio – a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.

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. 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.

The Rotary Club of Campbell River held two “Pumpkins for Polio” fundraising events to raise funds to fight polio. On Oct. 24 (World Polio Day), the Riptide Pub hosted the Rotarians’ Pumpkins for Polio auction. A full house enjoyed Rotarian Todd Peachey’s auctioneering skills and humour as he auctioned off 29 carved pumpkins. The home-grown pumpkins were donated by Coastal Black Estate Winery and were skillfully carved by members of the Campbell River Arts Council and members of local First Nations (in particular, members of the Henderson family). The Pumpkins for Polio event at the Riptide Pub raised close to $6,000.

The following day, a Pumpkins for Polio auction was held at the regular noon meeting of the Rotary Club of Campbell River where Rotarian Todd Peachey duplicated his auctioneering skills from the night before. Rotary members carved pumpkins donated by Discovery Foods (Willow Point) and Club members bid generously at the club auction. The club Pumpkins for Polio event raised over $4,000. The approximate $10,000 raised by Rotary’s Pumpkins for Polio events will be matched 2:1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation resulting in $30,000 that will go towards global polio eradication efforts.

Rotary has contributed more than US$1.7 billion to ending polio since 1985, including significant funds contributed by the Noon and Daybreak Rotary Clubs of Campbell River.