In honor of World Polio Day, Oct. 24, and Rotary International’s 33-year commitment to the worldwide eradication of the wild poliovirus, the Rotary Club of Bluffton has engaged in a local polio awareness-raising campaign.

The first prong of the campaign was a presentation by Bernie Reidel, a past Rotary district governor and current “End Polio Now” chair, at the club’s Oct. 3 meeting.

The second component of the campaign involved a team of Rotarians, as well as their friends and family members, participating in the Old Town Bluffton Oyster Run on Oct. 20 wearing red T-shirts imprinted with “End Polio Now.”

Besides the team of Rotarian runners, all of the participants receives “End Polio Now” bracelets and an informational brochure in their race packets.

Through these efforts, the Rotary Club of Bluffton hopes to increase the community’s knowledge of the ongoing threat of polio, of Rotary and its partners’ efforts to eradicate polio, and how everyday people can help spare all of the world’s children from the debilitating disease.

In 1985, Rotary International launched PolioPlus, a campaign to rid the world of polio. Since then, the organization and its partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have reduced the number of cases worldwide from 350,000 to fewer than 25 annually.

Over the past 33 years, Rotary has made and secured financial commitments in excess of $12 billion dollars. Its affiliated volunteers have helped vaccinate more than 2 billion children worldwide.

As of Sept. 26, there were only 18 documented cases of wild poliovirus in the entire world, and the majority were in hard-to-reach parts of Afghanistan. The end of polio seems to be in sight.

Anyone interested in learning more about polio and what they can do to help, Rotary, or specifically the Bluffton Club is invited to attend a club meeting, held at 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Rotary Community Center in Oscar Frazier Park.

For more information about membership, contact Joanie Iaco at vano9144@bellsouth.net. For information about the organization, visit Bluffton Rotary.org.