The story behind Rotary's determination to end a cruel disease. From the January, 2014 issue of "the Rotarian." Story by Peter Ross Range.
New Rotarians, including some who were born AFTER the Polio Plus saga began, probably don't know just how or why Rotary got involved. We "mature" Rotarians emphasize the importance of the Foundation to the work of Rotary International, and we always talk about Polio Plus, but how did all of this get started?
Why indeed, did Rotary take on a project that, from the seed of an idea in April of 1979 -- having now consumed just over 35 years of energy by Rotarians, citizens across the world, Governments in countries that won't speak to one another, and the World Health Organization -- is just now in the throes of defeat? This article explains it all and makes it clear that we must continue the fight. 
It is important to think about the Rotary Foundation when contemplating what the end of polio will mean. My generation (baby boomer'ish) grew up with polio. We all had friends afflicted, some knew people who were terribly crippled by it, or died. We knew about iron lungs, leg braces and crutches. Until Rotary tackled this, children around the world still suffered from polio after it was vanquished from North America and from the daily lexicon. Had the Foundation not been there it all its financial might, and had Rotary not had the worldwide influence and energy which became so evident, eliminating polio might never even have become a dream in RI President Clem Renouf's mind.
It is fitting to now consider these things as October 24, 2014 is World Polio Day