Founder of initiative to help end Polio visits Storrington

Susanne Rea with Storrington & Pulborough District Rotary President Brian Parfitt (left) and Rotary District Governor Elect David Easton SUS-180404-140914001
Susanne Rea with Storrington & Pulborough District Rotary President Brian Parfitt (left) and Rotary District Governor Elect David Easton SUS-180404-140914001

Susanne Rea of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise in Australia, and Mukesh Malhotra from the Rotary Club of Hounslow, England set up the ‘Worlds Greatest Meal’ a global funding initiative around food, fun and fundraising to support Rotary’s ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.

Susanne visited Storrington & Pulborough District Rotary Club this week to thank the club for its ‘World’s Greatest Meal’ fundraising efforts and to update members on Rotary’s amazing drive to eradicate the World of Polio.

Her idea is simple - a program in which Rotarians host meals, anything from two people having lunch to elaborate gourmet dinners, and ask for donations.

The ‘World’s Greatest Meal’ initiative started small but has grown enormously. Since its launch in 2014 nearly $9 million has been raised providing vaccinations for more than 14 million children.

To keep the momentum alive, Susanne re-mortgaged her house and embarked on a self-funded world tour, speaking, vaccinating children and motivating parents, governments and supporters across 32 countries.

She contracted polio as a child herself at four years old, spending a year in isolation at Birmingham hospital and undergoing 18 operations on her legs to help her walk.

Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988.

In 2007, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined Rotary in its commitment to ending polio and since 2013 the Foundation has matched every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication 2 to1. Rotary, with matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has contributed more than $1.6 billion to end polio and Rotary Clubs and Rotarians throughout the World have been active in raising funds locally.

Money raised on the evening and at other local Rotary events raised over £1,100 - that is £3,300 with matching grants!

Rotary President Brian Parfitt thanked Susanne for coming to Storrington and club members applauded her work to end the scourge of polio.

Since the ‘End Polio Now’ programme began 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated and there has been a 99.9% worldwide reduction in polio cases.