End Polio Now Message Hits The Road

The Rotary Polio Ute relay travelled throughout District 9510, from Alice Springs to Adelaide, in late 2020, spreading the word of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio.
The Rotary Polio Ute Relay started at Alice Springs on World Polio Day, October 24, 2020.
The new release Mazda BT-50 ute was supported by Paradise Motors and also carried the relay baton from one Rotary Club to the next. The BT is short for baton transfer! In fact, the baton recognises the Rotary International End Polio Now theme, as well as the centenary of Rotary in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania this year.
The staging posts were created by the participating Rotary clubs, who organised events to generate awareness of Rotary’s involvement in the eradication of polio worldwide. Rotary District 9510 has 86 clubs across three states and the Northern Territory.
In Alice Springs, the polio ute team enjoyed a community barbecue at a well-known hardware warehouse and also participated in a mini Henley-on-Todd Regatta at the original telegraph station as a team building event. The ute also spent some time at the Mazda dealership.
The next day the ute travelled to Roxby Downs where there was a community barbecue, along with an exclusive preview of the Helen Reddy film I am Woman to raise funds for End Polio Now. Film screening events were also held in Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Augusta.
At the end of October, the ute was at a Halloween costume activity and scavenger hunt in Port Pirie, before travelling to Maitland, Kadina, and Clare for a community barbecue in the park. From there, it was driven to Peterborough to visit local schools.
In Broken Hill, the ute picked up the ‘Polly’ End Polio Now trailer. The trailer is a full display of an iron lung, which was an early treatment for polio. It also features displays of how Rotary has helped eradicate the disease from all but two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan).
From there, the ute travelled down to Kapunda, then up to the Riverland to the Rotary clubs in Renmark, Berri, Loxton and Waikerie, before moving down to Kapunda, the Barossa Valley and Gawler.
With COVID-19 lockdown in South Australia in late November, some events in the Northern and Western suburbs of Adelaide had to be cancelled.
The polio ute continued on to Flagstaff Hill, Mitcham, Unley and nearby towns before stops in the Adelaide Hills, Morphett Vale, Victor Harbor and others. It arrived in the centre of Adelaide, then visited Norwood, Campbelltown and Burnside.
Each Rotary club sold $2 raffle tickets to raise funds for polio eradication. The raffle was drawn on December 19 at the Rotary Club of Burnside’s Glenunga Hub market. District 9510 Rotary Clubs raised over US $22,000 for the RI End Polio Now Foundation Fund.
Story by Bob Cooper PDG & Coordinator