Watch out for a sea of red at the Britomart Station on Friday, October 23rd. It is the second year in succession that Rotary in Auckland is organising a `Ride a train to enable others to walk’ event. 
Just when the world is fighting a deadly battle against Coronavirus, the Rotary initiative of eradicating wild poliovirus from Africa recently made international headlines.  
Immunizing more than 2.4 billion children in 122 countries since the last 30 years is an unimaginable feat, though sadly, the wild poliovirus still paralyses children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As long as polio exists anywhere, it remains a threat everywhere. 
It’s the reason why Rotary in New Zealand has been going hard, to wipe out the virus from the face of this earth. 
Starting from Britomart Station, the ‘Tag You on Tag Polio Off’ Rotary fundraiser will have Mayor Phil Goff boarding the train along with ACT MP David Seymour who has been personally impacted by the virus. “My mother was one of the last people in the western world to contract polio,” he says. 
Don’t be surprised if you see crowned beauties, including Miss Universe and Miss World hoping on and off the trains along with politicians and celebs covering some of the 40 stations on the Auckland rail network. 
The event initiated by District 9920 Rotary Foundation Chair Jennie Herring, End Polio Advocacy District Chair Ron Seeto and Past District Governor Gary Langford, will stretch to the waters this year.  Rotarians dressed in red `End Polio’ T-shirts and masks will be making waves on the ferry too. 
The ferry challenge is to visit all 12 destinations on the Auckland ferry network, starting from the Auckland ferry terminal at 6am and Kennedy Point (Waiheke) at 7am. 
A logistical nightmare, the train tag-on-tag-off idea came from Rotarian Mark Anderson from the Rotary Club of Beecroft, Sydney who along with his autistic son Dave took on the phenomenal challenge of covering 187 stations in one day. They were joined by other Rotarians and managed to collect a whopping amount of $240,000 in donations. A 2:1 match from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation meant the final amount donated was $720,000.  
That makes the $76,000 raised by Rotarians and Clubs last year in Auckland even more remarkable as the Gates multiplier makes the donation $218,000. 
In the Rotary Calendar, October 24 is World Polio Day. 

PRESS RELEASE by Farida Masters, Deputy Editor, Times. 
Member Rotary Club of Somerville Inc, and of the District 9920 Public Image Committee