Natchitoches– More than 50 students, faculty and staff at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts participated in a 5K race hosted by members of Project Polio, a nonprofit organization that serves to educate, coordinate and provide relief to eradicate undocumented cases of the poliovirus around the world.

“A 5K was a great way to bring the LSMSA community together and a fantastic way to raise funding for our nonprofit,” said Vrat Joshi, a junior from Natchitoches and organizer of the event. “It served many purposes, and because of the positive feedback we received, we plan to make this an annual event.

“I feel that the event went extremely well. I cannot thank our volunteers enough for their support. Everyone worked very hard, and I believe it made the event enjoyable.” Project Polio was created at LSMSA to eradicate polio and other “remnant” diseases in developing countries. These diseases are often forgotten by developed nations because of the greater funding toward public health initiatives, which have virtually erased the remnant diseases’ presence from the general populace, or still-developing nations that have never possessed the opportunity or fiscal ability to effectively combat these epidemics. Despite both the global initiative to eradicate the virus and the apparent success the various organizations have had in recent years, polio has not been erased.

The Project Polio team envisions a world free of human suffering caused by debilitating “remnant diseases,” such as polio. Members have made it their mission to combat the rogue strands of polio in the world and ensure that there are zero documented and undocumented cases of polio.

According to their website, countries such as India and Nigeria claim national eradication but ignore the many undocumented individuals and cases of the disease. The victims of this disease still roam the streets in these ‘eradicated” countries and are unable to provide for themselves.

In recognition of these disparities, Project Polio fundraises and donates, through organizations like UNICEF and other independent clinics, directly to vaccine production and victim rehabilitation in various developing nations.

The 5K race raised more than $3,000, and it will be sent directly to international clinics in rural areas.

“All the funds will be used to buy oral polio vaccinations, and they will be provided to families immediately,” said Joshi.

If you would like to sponsor or partner with Project Polio at LSMSA, please contact them at contact@projectpolio.org or visit www.projectpolio.org.