Charleston parks commission buys McLeod Plantation

McLeod Plantation on James Island.

As part of Rotary International's pledge to match a $100 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over three years, the Rotary Club of Daniel Island has been doing its part to contribute and end polio worldwide.

Local Rotary volunteer Doug Coupe views Rotary's fundraising efforts as a way to fulfill the organization's promise of a polio-free world. "Twenty plus years ago, Rotary made a pledge to end this crippling and potentially fatal disease," he said. "... As we stand on the brink of victory, we will do everything within our power to fulfill this promise to the children of the world."

Rotary is a humanitarian service organization with nearly 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. As the volunteer arm and lead private sector contributor in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has since contributed more than $800 million, and its members have helped immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries.

Since 1988, the number of polio cases has been reduced from 350,000 a year to less than 2,000 in 2008. Today, 70 percent of the world's population lives in polio-free countries. For as little as 60 cents worth of oral vaccine, a child can be protected against polio for life.

The global polio eradication effort, which includes Rotary's Polio Awareness Week on Feb. 21-27, is spearheaded by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children's Fund. Visit www.rotary.org/endpolio.