Bristol businesses dig deep to end polio

Some of Bristol’s biggest businesses are joining forces with seven Rotary Clubs from across the city to support a campaign to immunise 125,000 children against polio.

Thrings, Deloitte, 3PB Barristers, Burton Sweet, Yankee Candle, Extra Mile Printing, Bevan Brittan, Rydon, Gleeds, Hydes of Bristol and Meadowcare Home are all backing Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) which is looking to eradicate polio worldwide by 2018.

Polio is a highly contagious viral infection affecting the nervous system, often leading to paralysis, breathing difficulties and even death. The disease, which is spread in areas with poor sanitation via contaminated water or food, is specific to humans, with infants and young children most at risk.

A number of local businesses have signalled their support for End Polio Now’s Bristol Polio ‘Mile’itis Challenge by attaching their small change to a 12” cardboard strip. Each strip holds £2.90 which will then be trebled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and pay for the vaccination of 24 children.

The fundraising challenge, which was launched in October, will culminate at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway on 21 February with the laying out of all the cardboard strips. The completion of one mile of coins – equivalent to 5,280 strips – will raise £15,000, which will be trebled to £45,000 and cover 125,000 vaccinations.

The Rotary Club of Bristol Bridge, a dynamic group of young professional Rotarians, is also hosting a fundraising dinner on 20 February at The Bristol Hotel to ensure the challenge is not only met, but exceeded.

Sponsored by Thrings, the event will feature a number of leading figures from the Bristol business community as well as Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson, who suffered from polio as a child.

Hayley Price, a solicitor at Thrings and member of the Rotary Club of Bristol Bridge, said: “Rotary started its campaign to eradicate polio in 1985, and has to date raised and donated more than US$1.2 billion. 

“As a result of the great work of GPEI, End Polio Now and all of its partners, there are now just three countries in the world with endemic polio, namely Afganistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. The work needs to continue, and every penny counts in the fight to eliminate the world of this truly dreadful disease.

“Sadly there is no cure for polio, only immunisation, yet it costs just 36p to immunise a child for life. We are extremely grateful to those businesses in Bristol which have agreed to support the fundraising initiative and help GPEI continue its work in reducing the number of cases of polio.”

Tickets for the Rotary Club of Bristol Bridge’s fundraising dinner are still available. For more information, please contact Hayley Price on hprice@thrings.com or 0117 930 9549.

For further information and to donate to the Bristol Polio ‘Mile'itis Challenge, please go to www.bristolpoliomile.org.uk.

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