By Patrick J. Bird, polio survivor and author of A Rough Road
During the polio epidemic of 1940, I contracted polio and became ensconced for 19 months in a “reconstruction home” far from my family. I was only 4 years old, and since all the other children were at least twice my age, I was initially placed in a room by myself instead of one of the dormitories.
Enduring loneliness, painful treatments, and lengthy, frustrating rehabilitation sessions, I learned to overcome my fears and to prevail Continue reading
By Kurt Sipolski, freelance writer, polio survivor, and resident of Palm Desert, California, USA
Years ago, I founded and published a magazine for homeowners and designers, San Francisco Gentry magazine.
It was easy to target advertisers. While homeowners don’t necessarily eat out more than renters, they sure as heck hire builders and landscapers more often.
One time, I called a fire contractor to sell him an ad. I had used him when an apartment in a building I owned caught fire. After refreshing his memory of who I was, he replied, “Oh, I remember. You’re the cripple.” Continue reading
Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.
By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.
As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading
Pulmão de Aço (Iron Lung), published this year in Brazil, tells the story of Eliana Zagui, a polio survivor who has lived for decades in a hospital in Brazil.
By Eliana Zagui, author of Pulmão de Aço (Iron Lung)
Before it was eradicated through the effort of massive immunization campaigns in 1989, poliomyelitis was prevalent in Brazil. The lack of vaccine and poor sanitation in small towns resulted in thousands of victims a year. Avoiding polio was often a matter of luck.
In January 1976, at the age of two, my luck ran out. I woke up with a fever and weak lower limbs. Although my parents were used to my recurrent episodes of sore throat, they brought me to the nearest city of Jaboticabal for medical treatment. The next day, lacking a diagnosis, I was sent to Ribeirão Preto, a larger city with better medical facilities. By the time the doctors Continue reading
Rotarians in British Columbia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer
By Chris Offer, past governor of District 5040 (British Columbia, Canada)
There is something almost magical about loading an infant incubator, which has kept hundreds of newborn babies alive in Canada, on board a ship and knowing it will continue to help children in Chile.
I recently had the opportunity to load a 40-foot sea container with medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Iquique, Chile. Continue reading
Ali Maow Maalin in 1977. Photo by John F. Wickett/WHO
Editor’s note: Ali Maow Maalin, a district polio officer, passed away on 22 July in his home district of Merka, Somalia, due to a sudden illness. Below is a blog post by George R. Camp, a Rotary Foundation Cadre technical adviser and past governor of District 7230 (Bermuda and part of New York, USA), which appeared on our blog recently honoring Maalin.
Who are the true heroes of polio eradication?
Somalia, once polio-free, is again batting an outbreak of the virus. According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 45 cases of polio in Somalia this year as of 9 July, nearly half the cases occurring worldwide in 2013. Continue reading
RI Director Gideon Peiper looks at a patient recovering from cataract surgery during an eye camp in Lagos, Nigeria, in October.
By Suman Ramesh, a member of the Rotary Club of Lago-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria
Seeing the joy on people’s faces when they receive their sight back is an unforgettable experience.
Every year, the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria, sponsors an eye camp with medical staff from the Eye Institute in Navsari, India, treating nearly a thousand patients in the Nigerian states of Lagos and Ogun spread over 10 days. Continue reading
Polio survivor and Rotarian Ramesh Ferris meets Rukhsar Khatoon, India’s last reported case of polio.
By Ramesh Ferris, a member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada
This month, around the second anniversary of India going polio-free, I traveled to southern India to meet my biological father for the first time. Rotary International also arranged for me to meet another special person, Rukhsar Khatoon, who at 13-months of age, contracted the last reported case of polio in India in 2011. Continue reading
Rotarians in Mexico promote polio eradication during the Panamerican Car Race.
By Leticia Parra, a member of the Rotary Club of Bellavista-Atizapan
Rotarians in Mexico were proud to be part of a great effort to publicize Rotary’s work in eradicating polio. During the Panamerican Car Race 19-22 October, more than 100 cars were decorated with End Polio Now stickers as they raced 3,100 kilometers (about 1,900 miles) across Mexico.
Drivers took part in events each day where they discussed the importance of ridding the world of the disease. Continue reading
By Tim Ryan, a member of the Rotary Club of Toledo, Ohio, USA
I was in Abuja, Nigeria, last month as part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days (NID). I danced with nurses at lunchtime. I had lots of fun. I did not want to leave.
The entire team met committed doctors, saw lots of polio victims (mostly children), and took many photos. Experience has shown that by aiding polio victims from the local infected communities, Rotarians help the families become the best advocates for polio immunization. Continue reading