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Purple Pinky Week Update

“Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, almost 19 million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed.”

John Germ Past President, Rotary International

This week is the annual Interact Purple Pinky Week, which Interact members use to raise money to eradicate polio worldwide. When the week is over, Interact will donate the proceeds to the Rotary Polio Plus Fund. Middle and high school students brought money for grape floats and cupcakes during their lunch period this week. They voted for teachers with their money. Students have fun with this every year, and we want to give special thanks to the teachers who graciously agreed to a challenge this year. 


If we collect $100 for a teacher, then they agreed to:

Mr. Elson:

shave his head (unless he matches the money raised)

Mr. Hicks:

wear mutton chops with no mustache for a week

Mr. Heidenwith:

wear a dress with a crown for a day

Mr. Smith:

dye his beard for 3 days

Mr. Stiles:

shave his beard, but keep his mustache

Mrs. Owings:

get taped to the wall at the end of activity period


This Friday, March 25, will be Purple Pinky Day. Students need to show up early if they want to participate and then see an Interact member in the high school commons at the counter before school begins. They can wear a hat for a $1 vote for a teacher after they paint their pinky fingernail purple. Thank you for all your donations to a great cause! Our teachers who qualify will meet their challenges on Monday during activity period. 

The eradication of polio is Rotary International’s longest, toughest, and most significant project. Since its launch of Polio Plus in 1985, 1.2 million Rotarians have contributed more than $3 billion to help vaccinate 2.5 billion children across 122 countries. We have reduced polio cases by 99.9% and we will not stop until our goal of polio eradication is achieved. 

Poliomyelitis mainly affects children under the age of five. There is no cure, but it is preventable with safe and effective vaccines. The virus is spread person-to-person and through contaminated water. It can attack the nervous system and lead to paralysis, however, many people can be infected and not have any symptoms. Intensive global surveillance, particularly of water and sewage, helps track the virus.

In 1988, Rotary formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Gates Foundation and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, joined later.



Rotary Matamata Past President and District Polio Chair Michelle Tanner visited Pakistan in 2014 and 2017 where she vaccinated children in schools, hospitals, slums, and even at the zoo.

She says that with no record-keeping, the child's little finger (pinky) is instead marked with purple ink which lasts for one month and ensures they do not receive more drops in that time.


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