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Couple tackle the Nullabor to raise funds for polio charity

<p dir="ltr">A Tasmanian couple are jumping on their bicycles ahead of their 2750-kilometre journey - and they’re doing it to raise funds for a good cause.</p> <p dir="ltr">Phil and Joyce Ogden, who have been members of Rotary for over a decade, are undertaking the trek from Perth to Adelaide as part of an epic fundraiser for Rotary’s END POLIO campaign.</p> <p dir="ltr">The campaign, which was started over 30 years ago by Rotary, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, has been driving towards the goal of completely eradicating Polio, beginning with a project to vaccinate children in the Philippines against the disease in 1979.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, Polio is believed to only be naturally spreading in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but according to the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">World Health Assembly</a>, failing to eradicate the disease would be a “global health emergency”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We feel the enormous effort which has gone into turning the tide of the disease will be lost if pressure, and fundraising, is not maintained until the final handful of cases is consigned to history,” the Ogdens said in a message to all Rotarians.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the support of their South Launceston Rotary Club, the Odgens have planned to begin their trip in mid-May and hope to raise awareness of the cause along the way.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If we take our collective eyes off the ball, the disease will re-establish,” the couple said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So, we are still committed to making our personal donations every year but felt we might harness another of our passions, cycling, to push things along - once again with the assistance of Rotary.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With limited sources of water and no shops to buy food from along the Nullarbor, the couple will carry a week’s worth of food and two days of water at a time, and they’re relying on dehydrated food which will be mailed ahead of them.</p> <p dir="ltr">Their upcoming journey isn’t a first for the Ogdens, who have covered more than 100,000 kilometres from crossing the European Alps, the Pyrenees and the Rockies. </p> <p dir="ltr">Heather Chong, the Tasmanian District Governor, praised the pair and described them as “adventurous philanthropists”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple have started an <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online fundraiser</a> with a goal of raising $40,000. As of publication, the fundraiser has already collected $10,000 in donations, with every $1 donated prompting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to contribute $2.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-5eab3d00-7fff-453c-5cb3-5b7e0b1be26c"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Supplied</em></p>


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