Monday, November 21, 2011

Add 'eradicated polio' to your CV?

Jonas Salk made it possible.  After inventing the polio vaccine, he was asked who would own the vaccine.  He replied "Well, the people I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"  A true hero responsible for providing the key tool to hammering polio.  It was quickly snuffed out in nearly all countries and is now endemic in only four countries - Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

We are amazingly close to finishing the job - just $535m short of funding in early 2011.

But now an Australian student will be able to add those words to his CV, along with an inevitable "Young Australian of the Year" award.  

This Australian, Michael Sheldrick, was the final speaker at the FIA WA Conference a few weeks ago.  And his talk was incredibly motivating.

Even though he says "I am not a fundraiser" I think it is fair to say he bloody well is.  He managed to convince the Australian PM to give $50m, provide a platform for Bill and Melinda Gates to chuck in $40m and a few other Commonwealth countries in the UK to pitch in too.  Combined with the brilliant efforts of the global Rotary movement millions of kids will grow up, like Michael did, to never experiencing the disease. A seriously large chunk of that $535m will be knocked out thanks to the work of Michael. He is quick to point out that it was not him alone.

Managing The End of Polio Campaign was his role with Global Poverty Project. "It was very much a team effort and would not have been possible without 'All hands on deck'. In particular, a stand out Concert Producer."

It is so tempting to write up his story here, but it would ruin it - it is best coming from him.  He is a gifted storyteller, and this was key to his success. Check out his video.

Following the rock concert he was involved with, a government minister asked him to introduce the minister to Bill Gates.

If you see him speaking somewhere, go see him.  For those coming along to the Pareto party in Melbourne on 1 December don't worry about asking him to tell his story, he is happy to tell all. 


No comments:

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here