Huntington Middle School and Rotary Club of San Marino are joining forces to raise awareness and funds locally to help eradicate polio worldwide.
The March to End Polio Community Walk will take place at Huntington Middle School’s track on Friday, March 25 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
The profits will be donated to Rotary International and matched up to $1 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We’re going to do our part,” said Denise Wadsworth, who is a speech-language pathologist at Huntington Middle School and San Marino Rotarian.
There are approximately 100 people who signed up already for the walk.
“March 25 isn’t just Good Friday,” Wadsworth said. “It’s also the eve of when Jonas Salk announced the polio vaccine back in 1953. It’s such a beautiful connection between a calendar event and life event.”
She explained how Rotary International decided to take on the monumental goal of eradicating polio approximately 30 years ago.
“Thirty years ago, 1,000 kids a day were crippled by polio,” Wadsworth said. “Last year, we had 72 cases worldwide. When I started working and explaining this to my kids six year ago about polio, we still had polio endemic in Nigeria and India. It’s gone there now.”
Polio still exists today in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Students from numerous different clubs not only at HMS, but also at San Marino High School are participating in the walk. SMHS Interact Club members led efforts at their school to sign up participants.
“This is a chance for people to be part of something bigger than themselves and be part of an initiative that helps the world,” HMS student Brandon Li said.
This year is the first time there has been a walk at the middle school to end polio, Wadsworth said. She said there was an event called Coin Wars several years back when HMS homerooms competed to raise funds.
“We collected over $2,500,” Wadsworth said. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contacted us and said, ‘You did what? With kids?’ I said, ‘Yes, with kids.’”
The cost to participate in the walk is $20. Cash and checks will be accepted on the day of the event; however, a t-shirt cannot be guaranteed. For donations, checks should be made payable San Marino Rotary Charities, and mailed to Denise Wadsworth, Huntington Middle School, 1700 Huntington Drive, San Marino, CA 91108.