The Rotary Club of Sunshine Coast Sechelt held a successful public event on Friday, December 4, 2015. Rotarians and the general public were invited to hear about Rotary’s work on polio eradication. Polio survivor Ramesh Ferris spoke the more than 150 people who attended the event.
PDG Penny Offer and PDG Chris Offer gave a short presentation at the event on their recent Polio NID (National Immunization Day) participation in Indian. They explained how 172 million children under 5 were given polio drops in three days by the use of polio vaccination booths and door to door campaign.
Ramesh Ferris spoke about his life as a polio survivor and his commitment to working globally to one day very soon see the last case of polio.
In 2015 there have only been 60 cases of polio and there are only two endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan. We truly are this close.
Ramesh's journey was never easy from the time he was afflicted with polio which was left his legs paralyzed.
"My birth mother tried her best to take care of me for a year but she soon realised she didn't have the means to raise him and turned him over to the orphanage."
The Canadian-founded orphanage was nothing less than a boon for Ferris as within a year, he was adopted by a family Whitehorse, Yukon.
"Soon after my adoption, I could get access to corrective surgery and intensive rehabilitation and it only got better from there," recalls Ramesh.
After his graduation with a social work degree, Ramesh returned to India, this time fitted with braces and clutches. "The meeting with my mother was emotional and I was very happy. But what changed my life forever was the moment I saw a polio survivor crawling on the road with the help of bits of old tires on his hands. I was shocked and just thought to myself if I hadn't got any treatment, I would have been crawling to survive too," he said.
Determined to dedicate his entire life to the cause of polio eradication Ferris spearheaded the campaign, "Cycle to Walk Canada" in the year 2008. Focussed on polio eradication, education and rehabilitation wherein Ferris says he hand-cycled 7,140 KM across Canada.
Ramesh visited the Sunshine coast on his way home from Malta where he spoke to the Commonwealth Heads of State including Queen Elizabeth. UN General Secretary  Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Trudeau.
  Darcy & Doug Long
Glen Brown Chris & Penny Offer