Spring has arrived in Southern Chester County – and if you look closely, you might catch a glimpse of clusters of very special red and gold tulips. These tulips were developed in the Netherlands and are officially registered “End Polio Now” tulips.

Local Chester County Rotarians have long joined the battle to eradicate polio from the world, the corporate project of Rotary International since the 1980s. Polio was the “Covid19” virus of its day, the most feared disease in the developed world in the 1940s until the 1970’s when vaccines were tested and found to be effective and safe.

Polio virus is highly contagious, traveling through the bloodstream into the brain. Communities closed their parks, swimming pools, cinemas and areas where large groups gathered. Polio virus could strike a child at night, leaving limbs paralyzed, unable to breathe. An iron lung was the respirator of that day.

There is no cure for Polio; it must be eradicated. Ten percent struck by the virus died, thirty to forty percent were paralyzed for life.

Rotary International with its 1.2 million volunteers and experience in fundraising led the battle to eradicate polio from the world, contributing $1.9 Billion and countless volunteer hours to place 2 drops of vaccine on every child’s tongue. In 1980 there were 350,000 cases of polio yearly; now Afghanistan and Pakistan are the remaining hot spots for the polio virus - 99 percent eradication.

“End Polio Now” Tulips is a successful fundraising campaign that started in the Netherlands, growing to neighboring European countries.

And now available in Chester County, thanks to local Longwood Rotarian Leonie Kolvenbag, a transplant from the Netherlands. The total funds raised globallysince 2016 from the sale of these special tulips is $2 million.

To learn more about “End Polio Now” tulips, contact LongwoodrotaryEPN@gmail.com.

To learn more about Rotary, connect with www.longwoodrotary.com.

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