The Dare to Dream documentary begins in 1978-79 as RI President and President-Elect, Jack Davis and Clem Renouf, wrestle with the notion that Rotary should undertake service projects on a global scale. The story ends in 1988 with balloons dropping at the Philadelphia International Rotary Convention with the news that Rotary has raised a staggering $240 million to fund global polio eradication. But what makes our heroes in the story so interesting is to learn about the many obstacles they had to overcome in order to succeed. From the standpoint of creating a gripping narrative, the objections of Rotary leaders, Rotary Foundation Trustees, and public health leaders, both to the idea that Rotary should take on global service projects, and the notion that a single disease should be targeted for eradication, combine to give the documentary a wonderful sense of drama. Because of the complexity of educating the audience about Rotary as an organization, polio as a disease, and the controversy in the public health arena regarding vertical versus horizontal disease eradication programs, we have decided to focus on a one-hour documentary, which for broadcast purposes is approximately forty-five minutes of content. Once completed, we will edit a “club program” length piece that is twenty-five minutes in length.
The Dare to Dream script is now finalized. The research for the script is based on the two seminal books on Rotary’s polio eradication efforts, Sarah Gibbard Cook’s book, “Rotary and the Gift of a Polio Free World,” and David Forward’s book, “Doing Good in the World: The Inspiring Story of the Rotary’s Foundation’s first 100 years.” We have also studied Clem Renouf’s book, “The Health, Hunger, and Humanity Program of Rotary International,” Herb Pigman’s book, “Conquering Polio, A brief history of PolioPlus, Rotary’s role in a global program to eradicate the world’s greatest crippling disease,” as well as some excellent papers published by Dr. Stephen Cocci, Senior Advisor, Global Immunization Division of the Center’s for Disease Control. And of course, we have the first person testimony of many of the actual participants in the initial Rotary polio eradication initiative. We are quite confident the documentary will accurately tell the story our audience wants to hear.
Dare To Dream director, Ilana Bittner, visited with former Rotary International President, Cliff Dochterman yesterday, at his home near Berkeley, CA, where he shared his memories of the origins of Rotary’s campaign to eradicate Polio.