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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

This Polio Survivor Travels The World Vaccinating Children

Ann Lee Hussey is a polio survivor and a veterinary technician who travels the world leading other volunteers on trips to vaccinate children against polio. She’s been on 30 such trips, having led 26 to remote and exotic places. She and the other volunteers from the U.S. participate in National Immunization Days supported by diverse countries.

The NIDs are organized by governments in collaboration with Rotary International, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

These organizations comprise the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a massive and unique collaboration that has successfully reduced the number of polio cases from 350,000 in 1988 to just 22 in 2018.

Ann Lee joined me to record an episode of the Your Mark on the World Show which you can watch in the player at the top of this article.

Interview with Ann Lee Hussey, the Volunteer of Rotary International.

The following is the pre-interview with Ann Lee Hussey. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.

More about Rotary International:

Twitter: @rotary @endpolionow


Website: or

Rotarian and polio survivor, Ann Lee Hussey at the Rotary’s sixth annual World Polio Day event, streamed live from the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 24 October 2018. Photo Credit: Rotary International.

Ann Lee Hussey’s bio:

Twitter: @annlee001


Ann Lee Hussey of South Berwick, Maine has made the eradication of polio and the alleviation of suffering by polio survivors her life’s work.  Over the past several years she has actively participated in 28 volunteer NID (National Immunization Days) teams organizing and leading the last 24 teams herself, choosing to take those NIDs to places that do not often see westerners – Chad, Mali, Bangladesh, Niger, Nigeria, Madagascar as well as less “touristy” destinations in Egypt and India – where the need is greatest and where the publicity and goodwill surrounding the trip are as critical as the immunizations themselves to help communicate the need for eradication.  She is leading a team to Nigeria in October for her 29th NID.

She has shared her story and passion hundreds of times at numerous Zone Institutes, District Conferences, PETS and Foundation events, carrying the message of PolioPlus around the Rotary world and beyond, raising money and creating new converts to the fight.  She is determined that no child will needlessly have to suffer what she herself, a polio survivor, has been through. Her concern for polio survivors includes working to ensure mobility and dignity for those who survived the disease but did not have access to the kinds of surgeries and treatments that she was able to receive, and she has led many RI grants to this end.

Ann Lee has put a face on the subject of polio eradication, winning hearts and minds and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.  A polio survivor herself, the story Ann Lee tells is personal, and so is her fight to eradicate polio.

But for all the immunizations Ann Lee has herself made possible through NIDs, she considers fundraising and public awareness her most critical accomplishments.  Ann Lee’s work has earned her the International Service Award for a Polio-Free World, the Rotary Service Above Self Award and she was honored as a White House Champion of Change for her humanitarianism and contributions to public service, aimed at improving people’s lives and making a better future around the globe. She was featured in the magazine Real Simple in June 2012. She was featured in a video in Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter for February 2017. In March 2017, Rotary and The World Bank recognized her as a Woman of Action celebrating International Day of Women.  Locally in her home state of Maine, she was honored at the Maine State Senate chamber for her remarkable achievements and included in Maine Magazine as one of the 50 Mainers of 2017 who have changed our world, improved our lives, and broadened our horizons.

Outside Rotary, Ann Lee currently serves as a trustee of York Hospital for a third term and was previously on the board of Port Resources, an organization that supports developmentally challenged adults in Portland, Maine.

Previously Ann Lee served on the Reach Out to Africa Initiative, as Zone 32 Coordinator for Health and Hunger and as a member of the RI Rotarian Action Groups Committee.  She has also served as Presidents’ Representative at several district conferences and has represented Rotary at the Easter Seals Annual Convention.

Ann Lee is a member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise in Maine and served District 7780 as Governor in 2010-2011. Currently she serves, as Adviser to Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee and as Rotary’s representative on the Global Polio Eradication Transition Management Group.  She is CEO of the Polio Survivors Rotarian Action Group and Chair of the RAGs Chair Council for 2016-2018. She also currently serves as Chair of The Fellowship of Rotarian PDGs.

Ann Lee is a Veterinary Technician who with her Rotarian husband, Michael Nazemetz, DVM own Village Veterinary Clinic in Rollinsford, NH.  They reside in South Berwick, Maine with their yellow Labrador, Parker and their cat Elliott. Ann Lee and her husband are Rotary Foundation Major Donors.

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