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    LONG ROAD: Rotarians Phil and Joyce Ogden, pictured with their ‘two can’ tandem, joined Horsham Rotarians Doug and Jennie Mitchell during their 3000-kilometre bicycle ride. Picture: BRONWYN HASTINGS

Riders hitting polio for six

Tasmania’s Phil and Joyce Ogden rode into Horsham last week during their Adelaide to Sydney polio fundraising campaign.

The couple’s 3000-kilometre End Polio ride began on April 3.

“We have ridden more than 650 kilometres so far,” Mr Ogden said of the seven-week journey.

“We aren’t sure of our arrival date in Sydney, but we have a plane ticket out of there on June 1, so it had better be before then.”

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The couple is visiting Rotary clubs to raise money and awareness about polio eradication during the self-
funded trip.

“The idea for the rides started when we were talking to our next-door neighbour,” Mrs Ogden said.

“She has two children and we were talking about vaccines. Her children had been immunised, but she had no idea what polio was, or its effects.

“We’re of a generation that remembers and has first-hand experience with polio,” she said.

Mr and Mrs Ogden raised $38,000 in 2022 when they rode across the Nullabor from Perth to Adelaide.

“For every dollar we raise, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is matching it with two dollars,” Mr Ogden said. 

“We are seeking donations from the general public $6 at a time, we’re calling it ‘hitting polio for six’.”

Vaccines have stopped the spread of wild poliovirus in all but two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, there have been outbreaks of polio variants in other countries where immunisation rates are low.

“Only humans carry polio, it is possible to eradicate it,” Mr Ogden said.

In 1988 the World Health Assembly established the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to ensure every child was vaccinated against polio. It has prevented an estimated 20 million cases of paralysis in children since 1988 and decreased polio cases by more than 99 percent.

Australia has been polio-free since the year 2000.

Mr and Mrs Ogden arrived in Horsham from Hamilton on April 11. Their next scheduled visits are with Portland, Warrnambool and Geelong.

Donations can be made via the Tasmania Rotary website, by clicking on the ‘End Polio Now’ link. 

– Bronwyn Hastings

The entire April 17, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!