El Tour De Tucson: Rotary Ride to End Polio raises millions - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

El Tour De Tucson: Rotary Ride to End Polio raises millions

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With the Tour de Tucson just a couple weeks away it's never to early to talk about the "Rotary Ride To End Polio" and the charitable organizations involved with the race and raising millions of dollars to help end this horrible disease.  Here's more:


  • 30 years ago Rotary adopted a goal of ending polio on the planet. That year there were 350,000 new cases of polio. This year to date we have had only 14 cases in two countries. At that time Rotary adopted the goal of ending polio on the planet.
  • In a recent Yahoo poll, it stated more than 16 million children around the world are walking because of polio vaccine.
  • In 2009, Michael J. Harris, now deceased, enrolled District 5500 Polio Plus as a beneficiary (non-profit) with El Tour de Tucson and the participating cyclists raised about $25,000, including a 2:1 match by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which continues today.
  • Fast forward to 2016, when 125 Rotary Cyclists riding here and in gyms and health clubs around the world raised $13.5 million, for a cumulative 7 year fund raising total of more than $35 million.
  • It costs 60 cents to immunize a child. That means Tucson Rotary cyclists have raised enough money to purchase more than 58 million doses of polio vaccine.
  • This year cyclists representing the Rotary Club are coming from as far as Germany, France and Australia to ride and raise funds.
  • Local Rotarians believe that this is also the single largest fund raiser in the history of Rotary, although documentation is not sufficient to substantiate the claim.
  • In 2014, General Secretary (think CEO) John Hewko was recognized as the El Tour de Tucson Dedication Recipient, recognizing his role as the single largest fund raiser in the now 35 year history of El Tour de Tucson. Here is a link to John’s latest blog entry titled, “What I Think About When I Cycle.”

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