My name is Piper Paquen, and I’m on a mission. Last week, my professional interest was piqued by the arrival of a peculiar package- and ever since I have been drawn into a profound personal journey, uncovering an epic tale of huge proportions… and the monumental opportunity to change the planet.
This is what happenned...
Following the pictographs on the mysterious ring, I discovered the story of a powerful public figure paralysed by a crippling disease and a communities gripped by fear of infection. The story of a disease that could strike anywhere and destroy the lives of millions of children and adults, a disease that created a movement by the people, creating a vaccine for the people. A disease called Polio.
But did it end there? and if so, what did the other pictographs mean? I had more digging to do...
Polio in America was just the start. Dimes came flooding in, followed by dollars, followed by the first ever polio vaccine.
By inventing the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk gave birth to a miracle – creating a way to defeat polio in America and spread the potential for immunising against cases of polio across the whole world. When asked who owned the patent for the miracle vaccine, he hesitated then famously remarked "Could you patent the Sun?".
Armed with the vaccine, the story of polio spread far and wide, leading to a sea of volunteers across the world.
An Australian man - Sir Clem Renouf, then President of Rotary International - had a vision of a polio free world. And his vision would kick start a global movement to realise the end of polio.
Over the next three decades this vision would not only mobilise a sea of volunteers across the world – raising over a billion dollars for polio eradication and the development of a new oral polio vaccine – making it easier to reach at risk children in some of the world’s most remote communities.
Albert Sabin, father of the modern oral polio vaccine, would then pave the way for vaccinations to be delivered easily and cheaply to communities across the globe – enabling a global movement towards eradication. His vision gave rise to a global movement - the greatest non-violent army the world had ever seen.
But there was a catch..
The 1960s saw massive changes in the global landscape. Martin Luther King had a dream, Nelson Mandela was put in prison and Mao Zedong changed the face of Chinese society. Rioting broke out in Los Angeles and the Beatles made it big.
Wars were fought in Vietnam and in Independent Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, risking the lives and preventing the movement of health workers vaccinating against polio.
Then something magical happened.. Days of tranquillity were named.
Armies parted and bullets stopped flying, replaced by vaccines.
Did it end there? As I looked at the last picture I wondered about the effects of polio today. I marvelled at the scale of the global movement to end this disease. And I saw a chance for people today to help write the last chapter in a monumental story.
With a global funding gap limited the crucial final stages of polio eradication, I knew that I must join the movement- and call on World Leaders to provide the funding needed to write a polio free chapter in our history books.
With polio still endemic in four countries worldwide – and three of those in the Commonwealth – I saw a unique opportunity to talk about polio at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia. We could put this issue in the international spotlight, and get the funding needed to finish this monumental story.
Can you help finish my story?
Together we can end polio and complete the missing piece. With a signature you will be adding your voice to the thousands of supporters calling for an end to a crippling and potentially fatal disease.
That's 5 million children who can now play, learn and grow free from polio. That's 5 million reasons to make this the monumental achievement of our generation.
The End of Polio is within reach. Together, we can make it reality.