North Surry High School recently had four students raise funds for an international effort to eradicate the polio virus across the world. Breanna Goins, Caleb Cooke, Cassidy Willard and John Nichols took part in the effort through their work with the Interact Club.
The Interact Club at North Surry High participated in a campaign to bring awareness to eradicating the polio virus worldwide by funding vaccines. World Polio Day was Oct. 24, which is the birthday of the inventor of the polio vaccine, Dr. Jonas Salk.
The campaign is called The Purple Pinkie project, the students charged donors $1 to paint the pinky fingers of those who chose to participate.
According to Interact Club member Caleb Cooke, two countries are still faced with endemic of polio — Afghanistan and Pakistan. Until polio virus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio. Especially vulnerable countries with weak public health and immunization services and travel or trade links to endemic countries.
The students focused on reigning in those who were meandering to lunch between classes. Saying things like “Help us eradicate polio.” Crossing each other’s pinkies in the form of x’s and chanting, “X out polio!”
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease that still strikes children mainly under the age of 5 in countries in Asia and the Middle East. It is as easy to catch as the common cold according to www.polioeradication.org.
Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. Paralysis is within hours, and polio paralysis is almost always irreversible. Polio attacks the motor neurons of the brain stem, causing breathing difficulty or even death, according to Breanna Goins, NSHS Interact Club treasure.
“Because there is no cure for polio, the best protection is prevention,” said Goins
Since $1 is the estimated cost to immunize one child from polio, the $1 donation will help a child be protected against this crippling disease for life, according to recent studies published by the Purple Pinkie Project.
The NSHS Interact Club annually participates in the Purple Pinky Project, partnering with The Bill Gates Foundation, the proceeds that are raised are matched 2:1, meaning for every dollar the Interact Club raises the Bill Gates Foundation gives two dollars.
The club was expecting to paint at least 125 pinkies during the hour its booth was set up in the hall.
“It’s something we do every year, hopefully soon polio will be eradicated,” said Goins.
Reach Eva Queen at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @MtAiryNewsEva