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Rotarians Take Chilly Dip to Help Polio Research

The 3rd annual Polar Plunge was put on by the Rotary District 7930 was held on Saturday at Long Beach in Gloucester.

Rotary District 7930, which includes Danvers, held its 3rd annual Polar Plunge on Saturday at Long Beach in Gloucester.

The event was part Rotary International’s ongoing campaign to eradicate polio.

More than 200 people rushed into the cold waters off Cape Ann. Last year’s event raised more than $34,000 and this year $60,000 has been raised already and donations are still being accepted until Feb. 28.

The Gloucester Rotary Club hosted the event, adjacent to the Cape Ann Motor Inn.

Last year close to 160 people braved the icy waters and this year Polar Plunge and Polio Chairman Bob Gravino of the Ipswich club has set the fundraising goal at $100,000, which comes out to $2,100 per club for 48 clubs
from Boston north to Salem, N.H. and east to Cape Ann.

Donations can be made online at a special page set up on Fundraise.com.

For more information, you can also contact Committee Chairman Bob Gravino at RCGRAVINO@aol.com or Josh Arnold, the event’s Public Relations Chairman, at
josharnold@verizon.net.

Many clubs also used social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help promote their participation in the event.

Since 1985, Polio has become the signature cause for Rotary International. The disease was prevalent in the United States in the years following the first two world wars. Since then, efforts have been spearheaded by Rotary International to eradicate them from the Philippines in 1985.

When Rotary took on the battle against the disease more then 350,000 people spanning 125 countries were impacted. Today there are three countries left where it has not been eradicated, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

In 2012, 429 million children have been vaccinated against polio. Less then 300 cases of polio were reported in 2012, representing a decline of more then 60 percent from 2011.

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