At this year’s Alaska Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia-Pacific Championships in Mactan (held on Aug 7), the Rotary Club of the Philippines fielded a 24-member team for a cause. The team’s mission was explained in their name: “Tri to End Polio”, created to raise funds devoted to eradicating the deadly disease with every kilometer they completed at the event.
“The end of Polio is the banner project of Rotary International,” said team captain and former president of Rotary District 3860 Bernard Vonn Sia. And a worthy cause it is, to the point of attracting the attention of Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
“In every peso we get, Bill Gates will match it with two pesos,” said Sia. “The aim of Rotary Philippines is to raise P3M, so if we raise P3M the Bill Gates Foundation will give P6M for a total of P9M contribution to end Polio.”
As a developing nation, the Philippines is one of three remaining countries where polio cases exist.
In taking on the Ironman (which consists of a 1.9-kilometer swim, 90K bike and 21K run race), Sia and his teammates are prime examples of using the positive power of an active lifestyle in the name of a greater good.