Today was the kick off event for the Purple Pinkie Project.
Each year, the Presque Isle Rotary takes time to raise funds and educate the community on what polio is.
According to the Rotary International Website, polio is a highly infectious disease that has no cure, but is preventable with the vaccination. It mainly effects children under the age of five. It can attack the nervous system and can sometimes leads to paralysis.
Each year, the Presque Isle rotary gets out into local schools and businesses to raise awareness, asking for a $1 dollar donation to get their pinky painted purple.
"Since 2012/2013 when we started the Purple Pinkie Project one goal was to raise money, but also a big goal was to build awareness of polio and what's happening with polio throughout the world," said Joy Barresi-Saucier, Purple Pinkie Project Co-Chair. "And I think we've done a good job with that. Someone left a million dollars in their will to the rotary foundation and that person actually summered in Aroostook County. So, maybe that's part of the way they heard about this and the importance of this effort."
"This is a disease that shouldn't exist anymore," says Rachel Rice, Purple Pinkie Project Co-Chair. "Every child should be able to walk. Every child shouldn't have fears that their breathing muscles are going to stop working. And that at the age of five, that could mean they never walk again because they contract that disease."
According to the Rotary International Website, polio cases have been reduced by 99.99% and isolated to three countries. Wednesday Rotary members will be visiting schools and businesses in the area. There will also be some places that the public can either donate to online or visit to get their pinky painted purple.
To donate online, you can visit umpi.edu/worldpolioday or rotary.org/en/donate.