District Governor’s Letter – October 2023

We never know for sure the proportion that things can take after sharing an idea. The idea is bigger than our will, and if it aligns with its purpose, then it takes on proportions you never imagined.

District Governor Douglas Heizer & First Lady Dini Heizer

End Polio Now. How many years have you been speaking, listening, and promoting this? We contribute; we invite friends to contribute, and some of us even participate in a mass vaccination day.

I’ve been a Rotarian for over 30 years, and my first task as a new member was vaccinating children in a favela (a shanty town) in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, on World Immunization Day. In Brazil, we still administer the vaccine in drops, but it’s now changing to be a shot, just like here in the United States. There, we have our mascot, “Joe Little Drip,” who helps promote all year long, and the kids love it.

My club, the Rotary Club Boca Raton West, has one of these mascots because when we promote Polio in the Brazilian community, everyone knows and wants to take photos with “Ze Gotinha.”

I’ve traveled to many places around the world, visiting clubs and making friends, and in the last three years, my contact has increased, sharing experiences with governors from around the world. Due to my profession, I identified some needs, and one of them was: What to do for Polio Day?

Districts and clubs around the world get entangled in something that, because it’s so easy, becomes complicated because Rotarians always want to do really big things!

“Let’s have billboards, let’s light up a monument, let’s appear on TV…” are just some of the ideas that come to mind.

So, I started the idea: ‘Let’s share on social media a picture of you as you are eating your meal wherever you are to celebrate Polio Day on October 24 and donate wherever you want!’ I created a website, thanks to my company’s team, shared the idea with some friends privately, and boom!! My inbox suddenly exploded with so many messages from people wanting to know if I was the originator of this project.

People from all over the world! Japan, Korea, Australia, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and even Australia! I was amazed! I received a call from Susan Rea from Australia, who has had a project similar to this one for more than 10 years, wgmeal.org, and she has now partnered with us.

As a club or district leader, you can help us achieve our goal of a polio-free world by sharing the latest polio updates with your club’s members and in your community, and by continuing to raise funds for PolioPlus. Every dollar raised will be matched 2-to-1, up to US$150 million.

Well, take a look at this link and register your club or district, and let’s share our passion!! https://rotarypoliodaydinner.org/

Keep dreaming!”

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