Take the plunge for fight against Polio

Monday 11 February 2013

Take the plunge for fight against Polio

Supporters of Rotary's 'Swimarathon' will be looking to enter the records books, and put an end to Polio in the process.

In 2012, 58 swimmers took the plunge at the Mossman pool as the clock edged toward midnight. This year, president of the Rotary Club of Mossman, Vince Brown, is hoping to attract over 100 participants to a new location (QT's gym pool), and a much friendlier timeslot.

"(Last year) We raised around $950 and we established a Guinness World Record for the most people swimming at one time around the world.

"There were 64 locations around the world participating, and 4,500 people. From that they raised $USD105,000 for Polio eradication.

"We're hoping to set another world record, this time for the most number of people swimming in a 24 hour period," Mr Brown said.

People of all ages and abilities are invited to the pool and join in the record attempt on Saturday 23 February between 4pm and 7pm with a donation of $10 to go to the cause.

While there you can enjoy a barbecue and a piece of birthday cake to celebrate Rotary's 108th birthday.

There'll also be some fantastic prizes up for grabs including a magnificent piece of art created by local Rotary member Steve Johns, and a night's accommodation at QT Resort Port Douglas.

Pictured: Rotary members Steve Johns and Vince Brown holding one of the prizes up for grabs on the day - a Steve Johns original.

Rotary has been working for nearly 30 years to put an end to the disease and have made major inroads with success tantalisingly close.

"In 1985 Polio was still endemic in 125 countries and there were 350,000 cases," Mr Brown said. "As of last year it was still in three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria, and the number of cases is down to around 1,000.

"The last little bit is proving to be the most difficult."

Mr Brown said older members of the community may still remember when Polio, a viral infectious disease, was in Australia.

"A lot of people around the world have forgotten what Polio is, but there are still people around here that had Polio as kids."