Rotary makes DVD about Swarts Creek resident with polio

SWARTZ CREEK — The Genesee Valley Rotary Club produced a DVD that tells the story of Swartz Creek resident William Shaw and his experiences with polio.

The local Rotary Club made the video in May of 2012 and premiered it at the annual District 6330 Conference in Frankenmuth on June 1-3. At the conference the video, which is entitled End Polio Now: The Journey of Dr. William Shaw, was shown to more than 450 rotarians from more than 60 rotary clubs from across the U.S. and Canada.

Sharon Fouts, the president-elect for the Genesee Valley Rotary Club, said Shaw is a very upbeat person and encourages others, and his story about his struggles with polio is one that will affect people.

“It is extremely motivating,” Fouts said.

The video was made in conjunction with the Genesee Valley Rotary Club’s drive to raise money for Rotary’s Polio Plus program.

“Eradicating polio worldwide is a priority for Rotary,” Fouts said.

The video is intended to assist Rotary Clubs in Genesee County and across the globe in raising funds for the eradication of polio from the world. The DVD is being made available for $5 to all English-speaking Rotary Clubs and can be used in place of a speaker at fundraising events.

‘It will increase awareness of polio,” Fouts said. “Any English-speaking country would find it beneficial.”

Shaw was born in 1936 in Jackson, Michigan. While attending high school in Jackson, he contracted all three strains of the polio virus, including paralysis. In the video, Shaw tells the story of how he went from a 130-pound athlete who enjoyed football, baseball, tennis, golf and after dinner runs to a 90-pound person that found himself undergoing intensive physical therapy so he could learn how to move his fingers, arms and shoulders again.

Despite his struggles, Shaw attended Xavier University and completed his bachelor’s degree in 1959. From 1963 until 1972, he was a teacher and principal in Concord, Michigan. He then enrolled at Michigan State University and received his Ph.D. in 1974. Shaw became a district administrator in Bedford, Michigan, in 1975 and moved to Swartz Creek Community Schools in 1978. He retired as Assistant Superintendent of Swartz Creek Community Schools in 1985. He has also served on the Swartz Creek Board of Education.

“Dr. Shaw is a beloved member of this community,” Fouts said.

Since 1988, Rotary International and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, including the World Health Organization, have worked to eliminate polio from the world. Rotary’s main responsibilities are fundraising, advocacy and volunteer recruitment. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $900 million to the polio eradication effort.

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