By early 2017, we have nearly completed the fight by vaccinating 2.5 billion children in 122 countries and knocking out the virus from all but three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria where a total of 5 active cases of polio were reported. Yet, this battle and many other projects embraced by Rotary, including helping third world countries access to clean water and promoting childhood immunizations, are ongoing.
I have shared my story with thousands of people over the years as I helped raise money to eradicate polio. Many in my audiences suggested that I write a book.
I went to put pen to paper shortly before my 89th birthday in 2015 when I was blindsided by a diagnosis of throat cancer. Four years earlier I successfully was treated for prostate cancer.
As my 90th year approached I began to organize my thoughts. My hope is by sharing my story others will be inspired to serve in a community service club such as Rotary, Kiwanis or Lions because these clubs have made enormous impacts in lives all over the world.
I want to summarize my story in the introduction and give you more details in each chapter. The eradication of polio was just one of my many projects with Rotary. During my more than 47 years as a Rotarian, my second wife, Marlene, and I have traveled the world promoting world peace through other health initiatives and chartering the first Rotary club in Moscow, Russia in June 1990.
We have raised money for our home state of Colorado for at-risk youth, helped secure a $101 million federal grant to provide high-speed internet access to all Coloradans, and numerous other projects.