Joint Rotary Swimarathon raises $3,900 for polio eradication, local youth centers

The Rotary clubs of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid jointly sponsored a Swimarathon on Feb. 25 at North Country Community College’s Sparks Athletic Complex pool, raising $3,900.

Lake Placid and Saranac Lake Rotary Club presidents – Allen Dunham and Margo Nagle, respectively – presented $1,300 checks to Jon Fremante and Diane Roberts, directors of the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake youth centers, respectively.

In addition, each club is sending $650 to Rotary International for Rotary’s polio eradication fund. Fremante presented a check for $250 to Roberts in recognition of Saranac Lake’s support of this fundraiser.

The event, sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, was a success, said Bob Hanna, Swimarathon chair. Hanna praised both clubs and the students from Saranac Lake High School, Northwood School and North Country Community College who participated.

“Protecting and nurturing youth is important,” he said.

Recognized in a previous ceremony were Saranac Lake students Alex Rodriguez, who raised the most money among all students participating, and Jennifer Nason, who was runner-up in fundraising, in addition to swimming the farthest in the women’s division.

Saranac Lake High School was presented a cup for the school raising the most money.

Rotary started working with the World Health Organization in 1985 to eliminate polio in the world. At that time there were more than 350,000 cases every year. In 2012 there were fewer than 1,000 cases, and India had gone one year without any. This effort has cost well more than $2 billion and countless volunteer hours in inoculating all children one country at a time. There are three countries left to have a polio-free world. The estimate is $900 million to eradicate polio in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan.

The Rotary Swimarathon was part of a worldwide effort, involving more than 175 Rotary clubs, which has raised more than $105,000 for polio eradication.