On Thursday, October 24, 2019 the Rotary Clubs of Brooksville, Spring Hill and Spring Hill Central held its annual Barktoberfest Paws for Polio event at the Centennial Dog Park in Spring Hill. The event is always held on October 24th, in honor of Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed the polio (poliomyelitis) vaccine.
Area dog parents came to join in the festivities, which included pizza, frisbee and plenty of room to run and wag tails with a wide selection of music playing in the background. The main event was the costume contest, won by Molly, who dressed up as a Chick-Fil-A cow — sporting an “EAT MOR CHIKIN” sign — designed by her mom, Marissa Nicosia.
Bobo, disguised as a walking taco took second place, and Officer Shotz arrested his own dad, Daniel Vento, and brought him before the judges.
Money raised from donations from contests and food is tripled by benefit of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Brooksville Rotary Governor Allen Collins reported that Rotary International made an effort to wipe out polio, and as of today, only 79 cases of polio exist worldwide limited to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Around a decade ago, Rotary International instituted World Polio Day to commemorate Rotary’s efforts in eradicating polio around the world.
In 1953, Collins was afflicted with polio. His brother also contracted the disease, as were his four cousins, who lived next door. Two of his cousins perished very soon after developing the disease. The other two cousins were severely handicapped, and his brother suffered crippling effects of the disease. Collins describes himself as “very lucky,” as having only suffered mild effects of the acute disease, but still struggles with the effects of post-polio syndrome, which was diagnosed only four years ago.