The Rotary “Flame” arrived at RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, on Tuesday, 14 April, on its journey from India to São Paulo, Brazil, site of the 2015 Rotary International Convention in June.

The flame was launched in Chennai, India, in December to celebrate India being polio-free and commemorate the 30th anniversary of PolioPlus. The torch has made its way through Colombo, Karachi, Kabul, Sydney, Taipei, Manila, London, and Lagos, and will make an additional stop in Toronto before the convention.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang lit the torch during a ceremony in front of the PolioPlus statue at One Rotary Center, attended by roughly 150 Rotary leaders, RI staff, community members, local Rotarians, and members of the Rotary Club of Madras, India, that created the flame.

Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair John Kenny noted the progress that has been made since Rotary launched the polio eradication campaign in 1985. “The fruits of our labor since that day are clear,” Kenny said. “Ninety-nine percent of the world’s population live in regions certified polio-free. The goal of eradication is closer than ever.”

The audience took a moment to sing happy birthday to Rotary member Mary Stitt, a  frequent participant in National Immunization Day trips, who turned 90.