December 21, 2009 at 10:12 PM
This seemed like a very worthy cause, and so I bring it to your attention:
Violinist Itzhak Perlman performed a "Concert to End Polio" on December 2 with the New York Philharmonic, and below is a video explaining why, with a bit of footage from the concert. Perlman is a polio survivor himself -- having contracted the disease at the age of four in Israel, before a vaccine was developed. One of the great virtuosos of our time, Perlman has had to overcome severe physical challenges because of limited mobility in his legs due to the disease.
The concert was given to boost an effort by Rotary International to raise $200 million to match a $355-million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The resulting $555 million will fund critical immunization activities in developing countries where the crippling disease still threatens children.
It's mind-boggling, to realize that children still contract this devastating disease, when it is so preventable.
If you wish to donate to the effort go to this page and click on the big red button.
Bravo to him for this initiative and wonderful music!
I was at this event and was profoundly moved by his rendition of Schindler's List, not to mention the brass section during Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italienne. What a wonderful idea/event.
Thanks for the video.
In his autobiography, Isaac Stern tells of his "discovery" of Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman when they were adolescents in Israel. He had to fight hard to get them funding to come to the US to study. He had to fight hard again to get Perlman on national TV (the Ed Sullivan Show) because of Perlman's handicap. It was regarded as a big negative. I respect Perlman more for pursuing his love and career in spite of his handicap, and I think that he should be an inspiration to other people. Perlman has been a strong advocate for handicap access to concert halls. I'm so glad that he gave this concert as a fund raiser and that it sounded so good. Thanks to you, Laurie, for bringing this good cause to our attention.
In a world in which the headlines are all about AIDS and the Swine Flu, polio seems to have become old news. But it is still a scourge. It is not generally recognized, however, that the world-wide fight to eliminate polio is a 20-year-old project of Rotary International, and the Gates Foundation grant made to Rotary is an incredibly generous gesture by Bill and Linda Gates. To date, Rotarians world-wide have inoculated 3 billion children against polio. Because of polio's half-life, it is literally possible to erase it from the earth. It exists now only in 4 countries.
Mr. Perlman, like so many of his great violin contemporaries and predecessors, has devoted himself to the unselfish goal of helping others in need. His personal triumphs in dealing with this disease and his unselfish willingness to help others is beyond admirable.
Bravo Itzhak Perlman.
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