On Thursday, October 21 at 2pm, the Rotary Club of Belleville planted some 500 Rotary End Polio Now Tulips in support of Rotary's Polio Plus Program to free the world from polio. All net proceeds from the club's purchase of the tulips go directly to Polio Plus. With support and cooperation from the City of Belleville, the tulips were planted around the Rotary "Children of Hope" monument located at the corner of Station and Pinnacle streets. The site of the "Children of Hope" monument is very fitting as the Polio Plus Program is delivering on Rotary's promise to the children of the world to eradicate polio so that no child's life will be sacrificed to this deadly, crippling disease.
 
The Rotary End Polio Now Tulip, "the tulip that's saving lives", began as a project by Dutch Rotarians in 2013. The project  purchased the rights to name and sell a new variety of tulip. The project has developed into a very successful fundraiser. To date, over 1.5 million of  tulips have been sold, raising over $2 million US to help fight polio. The Rotary Club of Belleville is joining many other clubs in Canada, the USA, Germany, Switzerland, France and Holland in this tulip plant.
 
The Rotary Club has attractive gift boxes, containing 25 of these beautiful tulips for sale at $25 a box.. The End polio Now tulip features a yellow base highlighted with a red flame. The packaging explains the Polio eradication program and contains planting instructions. Once Rotary reimburses the supplier, the net proceeds, about $12, go to Polio Plus. When the funds are matched 2 to 1 by Rotary's partner, the Gates Foundation, the proceeds from each box will vaccinate 40 children against polio. By purchasing a gift box, you can deliver a lifesaving gift to the children of the world.
 
This Rotary End polio Now tulip planting is one of hundreds of events undertaken by Rotary clubs around the world to celebrate World Polio Day. The purpose of World Polio Day, held on October 24 this year is to raise funds and awareness for Rotary's battle to End Polio Now. Since the first Rotary led polio vaccination effort in the Philippines in 1979, Rotary has contributed $2.2 billion US and countless volunteer hours to vaccinate over 3 billion children in 122 countries.  The program has had tremendous success. In 1986 when Polio Plus was launched, over 350,000 people worldwide were stricken with polio each year. So far in 2021, only 2 cases have been reported in the 2 countries where polio is still circulating, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Rotary is so close to winning the battle. But everyone's support is still needed to finish the job. Because, as long as the virus is circulating anywhere in the world, every child must be vaccinated. In total , 400 million children must be vaccinated each year.  Here is a photo of Belleville Rotarians hard at work planting tulips for the End Polio Now Tulip campaign.

 
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