The Rotary Club of Fulton is hoping to raise awareness of polio with an audio broadcast.
“The idea is to raise awareness and funds,” Rotary district secretary Mary Ann Beahon said.
Over the course of Monday and Oct. 21-22, listeners can visit the Fulton rotary Facebook page to enjoy a three-part broadcast telling the story of one Missouri family’s struggle with polio, as well as the tale of others affected by the disease.
The story, told in the style of an old-fashioned radio show, was put together by the Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit and Summit Theatre Group.
“When I was a kid, there were all these radio shows that you could listen to instead of watching television,” Beahon said.
The story “A Candle Against the Dark” focuses on Rotarian Carl Chinnery’s family. Chinnery and his four brothers contracted polio in 1942.
“I actually know Carl Chinnery, the man whose family is profiled in this play,” Beahon said.
Beahon enjoyed listening to the story when the Lee’s Summit club broadcast it and wanted to bring the story to a Fulton audience.
Polio is a contagious paralyzing disease that affects children. The international Rotary organization has been working to eradicate the disease globally for 35 years.
“Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for years now, and it has been our number one priority,” she said.
Thanks to vaccination, polio has been eliminated from most parts of the world — North and South America in 1994, the western Pacific in 2000, Europe in 2002 and Southeast Asia in 2014.
“I’m of the age that I remember polio being a danger,” Beahon said.
It still is in two countries — Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Oct. 24 is World Polio Day. Beahon said the City of Fulton is planning on issuing a proclamation for World Polio Day during the Oct. 24 Rotary meeting, which will be held on Zoom.
The broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. Monday with the first episode of “A Candle Against the Dark.”
Listeners will have the opportunity to donate to the cause. Donations can be sent to Fulton Rotary, Box 733, Fulton, MO 65251.
“With polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine,” according to a news release from the Rotary Club of Fulton. “Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.”
Listen to a preview of the show at https://www.facebook.com/FultonMoRotary/videos/667738730803425.