Retired principal helps fight polio

December 22, 2012 7:22:53 AM PST
A retired principal from an Arlington Heights elementary school is just back from Africa and an important mission to help fight a devastating disease.

87-year-old Mary Stitt has traveled to Nigeria and other countries for 20 years to help fight polio. She came into our ABC7 studio to tell us about her recent trip.

Also, Dr. Carol Pandak, Director of Rotary ( International's PolioPlus Program, was with us to talk about her organization, which is at the center of the fight against polio.

Polio now only exists in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. While Nigeria is the only country to record more polio cases this year than last, its implementation of an aggressive national emergency action plan is showing positive results with more children receiving vaccinations.

Rotary, a global humanitarian service organization, has been working to prevent polio ( since the 1970s, and in 1988 was a founding partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (, which also includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.