Pizza for Polio returns for seventh year

Open pizza box. File photo courtesy of pixabay.com/mac231

Several local pizzerias are once again partnering with local Rotary Clubs in Chatham-Kent to help raise funds and awareness of a crippling disease.

The annual Pizza for Polio fundraiser in Chatham will be held on October 20.

Polio is a paralyzing infectious disease that most commonly affects children under the age of five and can be deadly. The virus is often spread through contaminated water and can then attack the nervous system. World Polio Day is typically recognized around the globe in late October.

This is the seventh year the Rotary Club of Chatham will hold the event, joined by the Rotary Club of Tilbury last year and this year.

Residents can help the cause by placing a pizza order at any of the listed locations on October 20. A portion of the sales will go back to the Rotary Club of Chatham to put toward polio eradication efforts.

Participating pizzerias include:
– Konstantinos
– Mike’s Place
– Andy’s Place
– Steve’s Pizzeria
– Original 2 Pizza
– Boston Pizza
– Pizza Tonite
– Pie-Zano’s

According to current Rotary Club of Chatham President Brett Smith, the fundraising campaign is always a popular one.

“Last year, actually the last two years, we’ve probably put from the Chatham Club, in the neighbourhood of $3,500 towards the polio campaign,” he said.

As an active participant in polio eradication efforts, the Rotary Club of Chatham has raised a total of over $260,000 for the cause. The Rotary organization has contributed nearly $1.2 billion since 1985.

“Our community should be very proud; thanks to their support of our Chatham Rotary polio eradication fundraising we have helped save the lives of more than 400,000 children over the past three decades,” said Interim Polio Eradication Chair for the Rotary Club of Chatham Alysson Storey. “We could not have gotten this far without the support of local businesses like our local pizza places. They have been enthusiastic about helping since we started this seven years ago and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

According to Smith, funds raised for the polio campaign by Rotary Clubs across the globe are matched by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Polio can still be seen in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the Rotary Club. However, the number of polio cases was reduced to less than 100 cases in 2020.

Smith said the efforts to eradicate the disease appear to be paying off.

“Currently, within the world, there are only two new cases of polio this year,” he explained. “So the vaccinations have been doing very well. There is a case in Afghanistan and a case in Pakistan. By this time last year, we had seen 14-20 new cases. ”