Wenham residents were among the 200 swimmers that took part in Rotary District 7930's 3rd annual Polar Plunge on Saturday at Long Beach in Gloucester.
The event was part Rotary International’s ongoing campaign to eradicate polio in our lifetime. Calin Moldovean of Wenham jumped in along with several other from the local Rotary Club with more than 200 other people into the cold water off Cape Ann.
Last year’s more than $34,000 was raised and this year's event has already raised $60,000 with a goal by Polio Chairman Bob Gravino of the Ipswich club of $100,000 this year. Donations are being accepted through Feb. 28. It amounts to $2,100 per club for 48 clubs from Boston north to Salem N.H. and east to Cape Ann, according to an announcement from Rotary.
Moldovean has a secure donation page where anyone can donate to the Rotary Foundation and write a personalized message
The Gloucester Rotary Club hosted the event, next to the Cape Ann Motor Inn.
The district as a whole has an online fundraising page on Fundraise.com.
Many clubs also used social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help promote their participation in the event.
Since 1985, Polio has become the signature cause for Rotary International. The disease was prevalent in the United States in the years following the first two world wars. Since then, efforts have been spearheaded by Rotary International to eradicate them from the Philippines in 1985.
When Rotary took on the battle against the disease more then 350,000 people spanning 125 countries were impacted. Today there are three countries left where it has not been eradicated, namely Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
In 2012, 429 million children have been vaccinated against polio. Less then 300 cases of polio were reported in 2012, representing a decline of more then 60 percent from 2011.