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Rotary: Los Alamos Students Get Pinkies Painted Purple To Eradicate Polio ... Tuesday Is World Polio Day

on October 23, 2017 - 11:34am
Ty Morris of Pinon Elementary School participates in the Purple Pinkie event recently hosted by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos to bring awareness to polio and its eradication. Photo by Oliver Morris
Kaya Loy, right, and a friend show their purple pinkies during a special even hosted  by the Rotary Club of Los Alamos to bring awareness to polio eradication. Photo by Laura Loy
Aspen Elementary teacher Stacy Martin and Rotarian Alison Pannell support the eradication of polio through a recent Purple Pinkie event. Photo by Mary Beth Maassen


In recognition of World Polio Day, Oct. 24, members of the Rotary Club of Los Alamos visited local elementary schools last Thursday to raise money for polio eradication.

In 1985, Rotary International began raising funds in an effort to eliminate Polio worldwide. Polio has not been a problem in the United States for many years, but this is not the case in many developing countries. By partnering with the World Health Organization and other government and private groups, Rotary International has achieved a 99 percent reduction of Polio worldwide.

The Rotary Club of Los Alamos has been participating in this effort from the beginning. Presently, through the Purple Pinkie Project, the Club wishes to make students in the Los Alamos Public School District part of the effort to eradicate Polio.

Since $1 is the estimated cost to immunize one child from polio, local students were encouraged to bring $1 or more to help with this cause. Each time a student put $1 in the Purple Pinkie Bucket, Rotarians painted his or her pinkie with Gentian Violet as a symbol of one child immunized from Polio. 

Gentian Violet is a safe topical dye used by Rotary International to mark children’s little fingers after they have been immunized from Polio. This prevents double dosage. By partnering with Rotary, local students became part of the defense against polio, and their purple pinkie became their own personal reminder of one more child saved from the polio virus.

The Purple Pinkie Project raised more than $1,100 toward Polio Eradication. Each dollar raised is matched with an additional $2 from the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation. The recent event in Los Alamos was coordinated by Laura Gonzales, the Club’s Foundation chair. Members who served actively were Mary Burns, Nancy Cerutti, Steve Ciddio, Bev Cooper, Skip and Linda King, Laura Loy, Mary Beth Maassen, Merlinda Martinez, Oliver Morris, Alison Pannell and Cerutti’s friend Carolyn Smith.

The Rotary Club of Los Alamos thanks all who participated in making this a successful year—students, teachers, staff and the LAPS School District!

Rotarians Skip and Linda King help Barranca Mesa Elementary students during the Rotary Club's Purple Pinkie event, an educational outreach and fundraiser to bring awareness to worldwide efforts to eradicate polio, a crippling disease. The polio virus is highly contagious and is spread person to person, typically through contaminated water. It attacks the nervous system, and in some instances, leads to paralysis. Although there is no cure, there is a safe and effective vaccine - one which Rotary International and its partners use to immunize over 2.5 billion children worldwide. Photo by Laura Loy

Pinon Elementary student Sierra Morris shows off her Purple Pinkie for polio eradication. Photo by Oliver Morris