BY ALISON PANNELL
Rotary Club of Los Alamos
On Friday, March 24 members and friends of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos collaborating with LAPS will visit local elementary schools to raise awareness about polio eradication. Polio is a virus that may cause paralysis, is sometimes fatal, but is totally preventable when using the polio vaccine.
In 1985, Rotary International began raising funds to vaccinate youth in an effort to eliminate this debilitating condition worldwide. By partnering with the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other government and private groups, Rotary International has achieved a 99 percent reduction of Polio worldwide. Our local Rotary Club of Los Alamos has been participating in this effort from the beginning.
But recently the virus was again identified in New York State!
Now, through the Purple Pinkie Polio Awareness Project, we wish to make Los Alamos Public Schools students aware of this deadly disease and include them as part of the solution.
Each time a student participates, we will paint his/her pinkie with Gentian Violet as a symbol of one child immunized from Polio. As used by Rotary International when performing mass polio vaccination around the world, Gentian Violet is a topical dye to mark children after they have been immunized from Polio. This prevents double dosage. Its safety has been confirmed by doctors and pharmacists. Since it is widely used by nursing mothers and in the mouths of infants, it is very safe. However, Gentian Violet is brilliantly purple and will leave the child’s finger colored for a day or two. $1.00 is the estimated cost to immunize one child from polio, so local students are encouraged to bring $1.00 or more to help with this cause.
By partnering with Rotary, our local students can become part of the solution to eradicate polio, and their purple pinkie will be their own personal reminder of one more child saved from the polio virus. The Purple Pinkie Polio Awareness Project will be promoted in the schools and the community for a couple weeks leading up to Purple Pinkie Day. We hope more than 1500 students will participate.
The Rotary Club of Los Alamos is collaborating with LAPS and it is hoped that everyone will take this moment to spread the word about polio. Hopefully, by time Rotarians arrive in the elementary schools for Purple Pinkie Day – armed with bottles of Gentian Violet, paper towels and collection buckets – your students will understand polio, what is being done to eradicate the disease, and how they can become part of the solution.
Please encourage your child to join us on this Purple Pinkie Day to help eradicate polio forever!