Rotary End Polio Now Committee co-chair Pieter Koeleman at last year’s pumpkin auction at the Riptide Pub. Photo supplied by Campbell River Rotary.

Rotary End Polio Now Committee co-chair Pieter Koeleman at last year’s pumpkin auction at the Riptide Pub. Photo supplied by Campbell River Rotary.

Pumpkins for Polio auction goes online this year

Only two countries remain with endemic wild polio virus

When Rotary International decided to take on the task of eradicating polio back the 1980s there were 125 countries with the virus and over 350,000 children infected, now there are only around 100 cases in two countries.

“In a normal situation, the job would be done already,” said Pieter Koeleman, one of the chairs of the Campbell River Rotary’s End Polio Now committee.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization declared Africa free of the wild polio virus. That left Afghanistan and Pakistan as the two remaining countries with the virus still present. With cases down to around 100 spread in the two countries, complete eradication could be coming shortly.

“The only other worldwide disease that was certified as being eradicated is smallpox,” said co-chair Gary McLelan. “That happened in 1980, so polio would be the second virus worldwide that would be eradicated. Smallpox was first, and hopefully soon polio would be the second to be eradicated.”

Koeleman said that a major reason for the eradication not happening any sooner is the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the situation in Afghanistan and in Pakistan is difficult to navigate for healthcare workers, which makes a full eradication of the virus a tall order.

“In Pakistan and Afghanistan there are hostilities going on and also those two countries the healthcare workers are in danger too. It makes it difficult and they can’t go full speed ahead. They need guards with them to protect them. It’s a difficult situation,” Koeleman said. “This takes a long time.”

The local chapter is gearing up for their annual pumpkin auction fundraiser, which raises money to go towards the global effort to eradicate the virus. However, this year things will be a bit different. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the auction will be moving online this year. On Oct. 26, 27 and 28, people will have the chance to bid on carved pumpkins on the Rotary website.

“There’s also a donate function on that platform, so if people don’t necessarily want to bid on a pumpkin, people can donate,” McLelan said. “It’s a simple registration process, so that way we can stay in touch with all the people.”

Since they started raising funds for the cause in the 1980s, Koeleman said that the local chapter of Rotary has raised over $90,000. Globally, Rotary has a goal to raise $50 million, which their partner the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will double-meet.

“That goes for our donations too, let’s say we raise $10,000, then effectively, we’ll have $30,000 towards polio eradication,” Koeleman said.

Rotary has teamed up with the Campbell River Arts Society and First Nations carvers to create the pumpkins. Donations and bids can be made online.

Donations are open now, and the pumpkin auction will take place on Oct. 26, 27 and 28.

RELATED: In excess of $16,500 raised by Pumpkins for Polio

Campbell River Rotary auctions off pumpkins for polio

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Kwiakah First Nation is looking to lease some Crown land at the old Campbell River Gun Range to create a community garden for its members and a series of greenhouses to sell produce to cover operational costs. Black Press File Photo
Kwiakah First Nation looks to open farm at old Campbell River gun range

City defers decision on allowing it until they can consult with other local First Nations

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Shawn Decaire does a blessing ceremony for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Hama?Elas Community Kitchen progress shared

Strategic planning, progress made on various projects also discussed at CRDCEH meeting

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
B.C. forestry companies agree to abide by cedar protocols drafted by Indigenous council

Western Forest Products and Interfor Corporation among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

Campbell River city council has given unanimous support to its mayor to continue the fight for the aquaculture industry on our coast. Black Press file photo
Campbell River city council unanimous in support of fish farms

‘I’m certainly not willing to roll over and accept a bad decision,’ says one councilor

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Most Read