MANATEE -- "End Polio Now" is the war cry of 1.2 million members of the worldwide Rotary International service club, including hundreds of Manatee County members.
The sight of the phrase projected at night upon such world landmarks as the Wrigley Building in Chicago, The Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt, the Taipei 101 Building in Taiwan and Buckingham Palace spotlights the fact polio is 99 percent eradicated, said Mike Bryant of the Fawley/Bryant architectural firm in downtown Bradenton. Bryant is a Bradenton Rotary Club member and past president. Now that same sight is available in Bradenton.
Bryant, who is personally committed to the cause, decided Bradenton should share in raising public awareness.
"One dose of medicine to prevent polio in a child costs 50 cents," Bryant said.
Bryant got the idea to ask permission from his friend, lawyer Caleb Grimes, to project a 30-foot-tall image of the words, "End Polio Now," beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday on the east side of Grimes' six-story Professional Building at 1023 Manatee Ave. W., home to the law firm of Grimes, Goebel, Grimes, Hawkins, Gladfelter and Galvano.
Motorists traveling west on Manatee Avenue near 10th Street West could see the image.
"I've never seen a public service projection on a building in Manatee County before this," said Kirk Bauer, intern architect at Fawley/Bryant.
The image will be projected a few more nights in the future, Bryant said.
Bauer climbed on a roof about 55 feet away from the Professional Building to set up the projector.
Bryant and Cheryl Houghtby , president of the Bradenton Rotary Club, were on hand to answer questions.
What made the local projection especially timely is, according to the United Nations, there has been a recent outbreak of polio among children in Syria. The World Health Organization recently reported 10 of 22 children in Deir al-Zour Province in northeast Syria, who became ill in October, had polio.
Before the outbreak in Syria, officials believed polio had been eradicated in every country except Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, Bryant said,
"It gives me shivers to see these words 30-feet tall," Houghtby said. "When you think about the times during the day when you buy a Starbucks or McDonalds you realize you could easily spare 50 cents so a child doesn't contract polio."
"One Starbucks coffee that you sacrifice could mean six children don't get polio," said Bryant, who said he had no idea how the projection would look in downtown Bradenton.
"It looks fantastic," Bryant said, gazing at it from across the street. "Wouldn't it be great to have the American flag projected on Bradenton buildings on our patriotic holidays? It's a cool way to communicate."
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative includes Rotary International, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and governments of the world, according to members of the Bradenton Rotary Club.
Rotary International has raised more than $1 billion for the initiative, Houghtby said. Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $250 million, Bryant said.
Manatee County residents can donate by contacting Houghtby through her email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be made on the websites, endpolionow.com., BradentonRotary.com, and Rotary.com, Bryant said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7052 or via Twitter @ RichardDymond.