The Rotary Club of Campbell River once again reached out during October to spread the word on Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio throughout the world. On a special note, Rotarian and Mayor Kermit Dahl signed a proclamation making October 24 World Polio Day in Campbell River. Local media outlets generously assisted in spreading our message. Radio stations, 99.7 The River and 100.7 The Raven conducted on-air interviews with Rotarians Pieter Koeleman and Gary McLelan to highlight the importance of eradicating polio and for raising funds for this purpose. The local newspaper, Campbell River Mirror, published a comprehensive article on the world polio situation and the need to eradicate this disease throughout the world. The radio stations and the Mirror also did an admirable job in promoting the Rotary Club of Campbell River’s 2023 polio eradication fundraising activities.
The Rotary Club of Campbell River’s major fundraisers are two Pumpkins for Polio auctions. The pumpkins are generously donated each year by Dan Ludwig of Coastal Black Farms. In 2019, the Rotary Club of Campbell River named Dan as a Paul Harris Fellow. The “public” Pumpkins for Polio auction was held live at the Riptide Pub in Campbell River on October 24. Approximately 85 attendees were treated to a beer/burger dinner and a very entertaining pumpkin auction conducted by Rotarian Todd Peachey. Decorated pumpkins and other pumpkin-themed auction items were created by the Campbell River Arts Council, Crow’s Nest Artists Consortium, City Councillor Ron Kerr, First Nations artist James Kwaksistala, 99.7 Radio Host Rickie Tyler, and others. At the end of the evening, Rotary members were very pleased to learn that the auction brought in approximately $6500.00!
The Club’s “in-house” Pumpkins for Polio auction was held at its regular noon meeting on October 25. Pieter Koeleman, accompanied by Rotarian Tony Fantillo on accordion, performed the now-famous Pumpkins for Polio song. The Rotary Club members provided carved and painted pumpkins, which were sold to the highest bidder! Rotarian Todd Peachey again displayed his auctioneering skills and humour. The Club’s Pumpkins for Polio event raised approximately $4000.00!
In addition to the auctions, Berwick by the Sea (a seniors community in Campbell River) conducted its own fundraising activities for the polio cause, which included raffles, draws and other promotions. In addition, some of the Berwick residents made generous donations to PolioPlus. The Berwick group raised approximately $2300.00, which was delivered to the Rotary Club. There were also donations made by Campbell River residents who wish to see an end to polio. In total, the Rotary Club of Campbell River’s 2023 fundraising activities raised approximately $12,500! This amount will be matched 2:1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, resulting in more than $36,000.00 that will go towards global polio eradication efforts.
The Rotary Club of Campbell River has a history of giving generously to the PolioPlus program. Thanks are given to our Rotary members and to the Campbell River community for supporting this worthy cause.