Friday, February 11, 2011

Rotary International: “Anything short of eradicating polio is 'unacceptable,' says DePreist”

[Maestro James DePreist]

Rotary International on Facebook

On 7 March in Chicago, James DePreist will conduct Itzhak Perlman and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a concert benefiting Rotary's campaign to end polio worldwide. Both Perlman and DePreist are polio survivors. RI News recently talked with DePreist about the importance of eradicating the disease.
You contracted polio in 1962, when you were in your 20s. What was the disease's impact on your life?
The impact was obvious and immediate: I could no longer walk. Crutches and braces became a part of my life, and I learned to adapt.
What do you want people to know about polio?

Polio is a profound limiter that requires imagination and energy to deal with. It helps if one can use the upper body constructively and creatively.
Why do you think it's important to eradicate polio and not just contain the disease?

Containment means acceptance, and acceptance is unacceptable.
Why did you want to be a part of the Concert to End Polio, and what does it mean to conduct Itzhak Perlman for that performance?

Itzhak and I are old friends. We've worked together several times here and abroad. This is our first concert together in which there is a focus on polio.

What would you say to Rotary club members to encourage them to continue their more than two decades of work to eradicate polio?

If the goal is eradication, then the fight is ongoing.

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