Category: End Polio Now (Page 2 of 2)

Elvis Visits Lawrence to End Polio Recap

Joseph Hall rallying the crowd before the 5K

Joseph Hall rallying the crowd before the 5K

Here’s a repost of a great story in the LJ World about the Elvis Visit to End Polio  Below the story is a gallery of photos of the event taken by Lawrence Central’s own Lynn O’Neal.

More than 100 people gathered at Watson Park on Saturday morning to run a 5k and grab lunch during the kick-off to the weekend-long event, Elvis Visit to End Polio Now.

Several Elvis impersonators and other runners participated in the Visit to End Polio Now 5K walk and run Saturday.  Kids in Elvis masks and sequined scarves ran alongside Joesph Hall, an Elvis tribute artist and finalist on season three of “America’s Got Talent.” The day continued with tours of Old West Lawrence, an antique car show and Hall’s Rock ‘N’ Remember tribute concert at the Lied Center.

Ten local Rotary clubs organized the event, which is a fundraiser for Rotary International’s PolioPlus fund, a campaign that began in 1985 with the goal of eradicating polio worldwide.

Lawrence Rotarian Bob Swan brainstormed the idea of introducing the King to the campaign.

“Rotary is international, in more than 200 countries. Elvis is a phenomenon, known all around the world in just as many countries,” Swan said. “He is loved and respected by many, many millions.”

Swan said there is a potential for his idea to spread, and for Elvis to act as a symbol in Rotary events throughout the country. He has spoken with Hall, who is officially recognized by Elivs Presley Enterprises, about arranging other qualified Elvis impersonators to visit multiple communities. The event’s website and schedule, Swan hopes, will act as a template.

Swan is also optimistic that the event will become a fixture in the Lawrence area.

“There are 34,000 Rotary clubs, and hundreds that could take this idea,” Swan said. “And we hope that in Lawrence or KC, wherever the site will be, that it becomes an annual event.

Mary Jean Eisenhower, a granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and polio survivor, was the chairwoman of the event, and attended the tribute concert last night.

The fundraiser continues today with Hall’s visit to First Christian Church, 1000 Kentucky Street, and Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Avenue. Hall will sing gospel and ask for prayers and offerings for the eradication of polio in the three remaining endemic countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Swan said that Rotary’s goal is to completely eradicate polio by 2018.

“Our workers are getting killed in Pakistan and their guards are being murdered in Nigeria,” Swan said. “If people can be that brave, then we should at least raise some money for them.”

How to help

To donate to the PolioPlus fund, make checks payable to Leawood Rotary Charitable Fund and mail to: Elvis Visit, PO Box 1776, Lawrence, KS 66044. You may also donate online at

Elvis Will Be in the Building & Lawrence to Help End Polio the Weekend of June 21!

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 7.10.46 PMNo Elvis has not resurfaced, but one of his devotees Joseph Hall who has a show in Branson, will be coming to town the weekend of June 21 to help host a series of events, all of the proceeds of which will go to Rotary International’s End Polio Now fund.

Ten local rotary clubs (including Lawrence Central) have joined together to put this event together.

For more information and links you can go to the Elvis Ends Polio website at

Here’s the weekend’s schedule:

Friday, June 21, 2013

7:00 p.m. Polio Survivors Panel, Open Mic, Worship Service in historic 9th Street Baptist Church at 847 Ohio, Lawrence, KS. Public is invited.

walkandrunSaturday, June 22, 2013 

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Elvis 5k Walk & Run to End Polio Now (you can just do the run or you and your group could add a little fun and dress up like the King!) walk-run register button

11:00 a.m. Joseph Hall Media Conference

10:30 – 1:30 p.m. Community Lunch with King and report on worldwide PolioPlus campaign josephhallconcert

2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Guided Tours of Quantrill’s Raid historic sites in downtown Lawrence. Tours begin at 2:00 and 3:00 p.m.

7:30 pm Joseph Hall Concert buytickets button

Sunday, June 23, 2013

9:00 a.m. – Noon Joseph Hall visits Lawrence churches to sing gospel

12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Donor/Sponsor Lunch with Joseph Hall

Lawrence Central Sells Christmas Wreaths to Support End Polio Now

After 25 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It is a window of opportunity of historic proportions. Reaching the ultimate goal of a polio-free world presents ongoing challenges, not the least of which is a hundreds of million dollar funding gap. Of course, Rotary alone can’t fill this gap, but continued Rotarian advocacy like Lawrence Central’s drive can help and this year we did our part by selling holiday wreaths where all the profits made went to the Rotary Foundation’s End Polio Now Campaign.

In addition to in-person  internet sales, the kind people at Weavers Department Store allowed Lawrence Central to set up a table to sell wreaths and tell people a little more about all that Rotary does.

The totals are not in yet, but we’ll soon post how much we were able to donate.  Thank you to everyone who purchased a wreath, we appreciate your support.

If you haven’t ordered there’s still time to get a wreath in time for the holidays.  Use this link ( ) to  place an order and 25% of your order will go directly to eradicating polio.

LCR President Meets Polio Activist Ann Lee Hussey

Below is a post by Lawrence Central President Bob Swan:

Bob Swan - Lee Ann Hussey This past Saturday I was honored to attend the Rotary Foundation Banquet in Overland Park and to meet one of PolioPlus’s most inspiring leaders, Ann Lee Hussey.  Her after-dinner presentation both informed and motivated the several hundred in attendance at the Rotary District 5710 event.

Ms. Hussey related that there were 1,000 cases of new polio cases per day when Rotary International began its noble campaign in 1985.  She shared the pain and helplessness caused by the disease through sharing her own experiences as a child who contacted the dread disease in Maine in 1955 at the age of 17 months.  Ann Lee was initially paralyzed from the waist on down, and the next eight years had many surgeries and endless physical therapy, three times a week.  She faced the taunting of childhood peers—a “cripple” she was called back then as she struggled to cover up and hide the braces on her legs.

Through a lifelong commitment to her health and rehabilitation, Ann Lee Hussey became a productive member of society—but her greatest contribution lay ahead.  In India and other lands, seeing children crawling on all fours, she experienced her “Rotary moment” when she saw a small polio victim struggling just as she had, with great fortitude and courage—but with far less support than Ann Lee had been fortunate to receive in the United States sixty five decades earlier.  She decided to dedicate her life to polio’s eradication—and has now done more than 20 NIDs—National Immunization Day trips around the globe.

Rotary International’s commitment and leadership inspired a worldwide campaign to eradicate polio once and for all.  The CDC, World Health Organization, UNICEF and Rotary International are now full partners in the crucial home stretch of eradicating polio and are now seeing the lowest number of new polio cases in recorded history.  With only several dozen new cases per year, just three countries remain that have experienced new cases of polio the past twelve months.  But these are very difficult countries, with war and extreme poverty and terrorism—Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  One health worker, Mohammed Ishag, was shot and killed while immunizing children.  Rotarians are on the ground in these countries doing NIDs—and in Nigeria alone there have been numerous terrorist acts during the past month.  A number of other countries are still at risk—but funding is lacking to deal with these nations.  So time is of the essence in this noble endeavor and our financial support is needed now more than ever.

Our worldwide cooperative campaign of polio eradication will prevail—and thousands of deaths from other diseases, such as measles and malaria, are being prevented by this model of cooperation spearheaded by Rotary.  The Vitamin A supplementing by Rotary is boosting the immune systems of millions of children worldwide—and one official claims that it may have already saved the lives of three million children!

Ann Lee Hussey concluded by reminding us that, even with polio eradicated, there will be twelve to twenty million polio survivors in the world.  Many will experience Post Polio Syndrome, with symptoms appearing decades later.  Extreme fatigue and often pain return.  Ann Lee has looked into the eyes of thousands of these children and adults across the globe and experienced their horrible suffering.  They will need our help with treatment and rehabilitation for decades to come.

FDR, our president who personally was stricken by polio, once said, “Our ability to work together…will make our victory over polio endure.”  He could have been speaking about Rotary International—for Rotary is the only non-governmental organization that could have raised one billion dollars and organized thousands of teams to immunize hundreds of millions of people in more than 200 nations.  We as Rotarians can be very proud to have been both the catalyst and the indispensable ingredient, the leading force with thousands of followers, in the eradication of polio.  Now is the time for us, mindful of what we have done, to redouble our commitment to support PolioPlus as generously as we can and, once and for all, to eliminate polio from the face of the earth.

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