Raising Money and Awareness for Polio

Pilot Peter Teahen and co-pilot John Ockenfels aim to raise $1 million to eradicate polio around the world. From March 24 to May 13, they are partnering with Rotary International to raise money and awareness about polio.

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The six-passenger Piper Lance II will take them an estimated 19,601 miles in 135 in-flight hours. There will be navigation and communication equipment onboard for people to track their progress online. Since the pilots are paying for the flight themselves, an estimated $60,000 to $70,000, with help from grants and equipment donations, 100% of the proceeds will go to Rotary International to eradicate polio.

As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary International has contributed nearly $2 billion toward stopping the debilitating, paralyzing disease, reducing cases 99.9 percent since first vaccinating children in the Philippines in 1979.

To help meet their goal, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is donating $2 for every dollar pledged throughout the flight.

“Polio is a terrible disease,” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said in an online video. “And as our foundation was getting involved in global help, we saw that Rotary, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), UNICEF, WHO (World Health Organization) had partnered together back in 1988, and getting rid of the disease is kind of the ultimate goal for all these infectious diseases.”

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These pilots and organizations are coming together to help the world and it has global implications. As of a few months ago, two of the three types of polio have been officially eliminated. This allows for changes to be made in the vaccine formula. Additionally, in order to keep all strains of polio from returning to a country it was eradicated from, new children must continue to be vaccinated until it’s been dead across the world for a few years. The last disease to be considered eradicated throughout the world was small pox, so there’s still a long way to go.

A main issue with polio is it’s very contagious. A person carrying the disease on, say, an aircraft, even without showing symptoms can resurgence it in a country where it has been eradicated if others have not been vaccinated against it.

Even with advancements in technology and medicine, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative has grown beyond the scope of only vaccinating against polio. When children receive this vaccination, the same vial contains other needed vaccinations to immunize them from other harmful and contagious diseases.

“And literally the process is two drops that are squeezed out of a bottle onto the tongue of the children that just got these multiple vaccines. Two drops — it cost less than a buck apiece,” said Teahen.

Rotary Internationals’ efforts continue beyond this fundraising initiative to education in vulnerable countries, providing mosquito netting, since polio can be transmitted by mosquitoes; testing water to see where polio might be carried; sending teams to those regions to stave off a polio outbreak; and helping to create jobs for people with disabilities.

You can donate and track the flight’s progress here: https://www.flighttoendpolio.com/

This is an exciting project for a wonderful cause. At Norfolk Aviation, we’re committed to providing you with the latest in aviation news. We’re happy to give you stories like this. We are your trusted partner in aircraft brokerage, whether you’re buying, selling, or customizing. Contact us today and let’s talk about how you can soar to new heights in 2020.




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