Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Ready to hop on a celebrity train?

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Rotary in Auckland and a host of celebrities are coming together to fight polio.

`Ride a Train to Enable Others to Walk Challenge’ is on November 1 from 8am-6pm.

Starting from Britomart Station, the ‘Tag You On Tag Polio Off’ Rotary fundraiser will have celebrities including politicians, business leaders and corporate head honchos hopping in and out of the train on different stations to help raise funds for End Polio Now Challenge. Leader of opposition Simon Bridges will board the train at Britomart station. There will be local politicians including Simeon Brown hopping onto the train from Panmure Station. Regular train commuters may be in for a treat as Miss New Zealand Lucy Brock is also scheduled for some train travel with the Rotarains.

The train from Britomart will cover about 40 stations during the day. It will be all go, with Rotarians behind the initiative, Past District Governors Jennie Herring (District Chair Rotary Foundation) and Ron Seeto and incoming Governor Elaine Mead, determined to make it an event to remember.

The concept is a team (dressed in red End Polio apparel) will ride the Auckland Transport (AT) Train Network and at each station a local Rotary Club (also dressed in red End Polio apparel) will symbolically hand over donations for the End Polio Campaign to the Polio Team riding the trains.

There will be plenty of photo opportunities in trains as well as the platforms with a sea of red-wearing Rotarians from different clubs waiting to greet the team or board the train for a couple of stations.

AT has given permission for Rotary Districts 9910 and 9920 to undertake the event.

The idea behind the Ride a train to End Polio Challenge was inspired by Rotarians Mark Anderson from the Rotary Club of Beecroft, Sydney, who along with his autistic son Dave, took on the phenomenal challenge of starting at 4.30am at Epping Station and covering 187 stations in one day.

They finally finished the train ride at Cronulla Station, Sydney, at 11.50pm. They were joined by other Rotarians and managed to collect a whopping $240,000 in donations. A 2:1 match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation meant the final amount donated was $720,000.

In the Rotary Calendar, October 24 is World Polio Day. Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years and, since 1979, has vaccinated more than 2.5 billion children.

The virus now exists in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Rotary’s new goal is to contribute $50 million per year over three years to make the world polio-free.

It will be only the second human disease in history, after smallpox, to be eradicated.






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