The Warren County Middle School Youth Act Club, in conjunction with McMinnville’s Breakfast Rotary Club, recently held a Purple Pinkie Day at Warren County Middle School.
Students at the school were asked to donate pennies to help eradicate polio worldwide. For their donation, Rotary member Rachel Killebrew painted their pinkies purple. Children in Third World counties who are vaccinated against the disease have their pinkies painted purple to signify they have been vaccinated, thus Purple Pinkie Day was born.
For 20 years, Rotary has had a vision of curing the world of polio. Billions of dollars have been spent. In Third World counties they send in teams to give children the polio vaccine. When they are vaccinated, their pinkies are painted purple.
While the United States is a polio-free country, others are not. In order to be considered polio free, a country must have no new polio cases for three years. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are not polio free.
“We do activities like this one to remind people there are countries that still have the disease,” said Killebrew. “People go to those countries all the time, so polio is only one flight away. If we don’t continue to inoculate our children, we could see polio in this country.”
Along with fundraisers, each Rotarian member donates $40 a year into a fund for the inoculation push in countries were polio still exists. With only three countries remaining, Rotary says its 99 percent toward its goal of eradicating the crippling childhood disease.
“We want 100 percent eradication,” said Killebrew. “Seeing children affected by polio is heartbreaking, given the fact it is preventable. We have to continue this push for the children. We want a world that’s polio free. We want that last 1 percent.”
Susan Barrett, sponsor of Youth Act, reported between 50 and 60 students donated $81.83 during the event to help in the effort to eradicate polio.
To find out more, visit http://thisclose.endpolio.org/en.