How does it look when I walk?

Francine Falk-Allen

By Francine Falk-Allen

As a polio survivor (age three, left with partial paralysis of one leg which did not grow as much as the other leg), all of my life I have had moments when I turned to see a child trying to imitate my walk. It was always disconcerting, and of late, just a little surprising, as when you realize toilet paper is stuck to your shoe and trailing along behind.  When I matured, I could smile at the pantomime, and think, “Do I really walk like that??!”  Continue reading

Who is that poster girl?

Francine Falk-Allen

By Francine Falk-Allen

One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people – children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care. Most of the patients were young children, who were the most prone to severe aspects of the disease. People were asked to send in “even a dime” and there were coin collection placards put out in stores, churches, gas stations, anywhere that people might be able to spare a dime. (A dime in 1950 would be worth about ninety cents in 2018.) Continue reading

How accessible is your club?

Shogo Williams-Matsuka, left, attends a club event in 2016. Williams-Matsuka says he joined Rotary partly to improve the representation of people with disabilities in community groups.

By Shogo Williams-Matsuoka, president-elect, Rotary E-club of Western Australia

My life as a Rotarian began in 2014, when I became a member of the Rotary Club of Cockburn in Western Australia. Since then, I have joined the Rotary E-club of Western Australia and am the current president-elect for 2019-2020. My involvement in Rotary is motivated by the need to do more to improve the representation of people with disabilities in community organisations. Often people with disability are portrayed as the passive recipients of charity, undermining our capability to provide meaningful contributions to society. Continue reading

Ending polio and prejudice

Paralympic athlete João Correa and his team.

Paralympic athlete João Correa and members of his team.

By João Correa, a Paralympic athlete from Brazil and supporter of Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign

My name is João Correa and I am 49 years old.  Although I was not affected by poliomyelitis, I know the kind of suffering many polio victims have to endure.

When I was 19, I had an accident while working in construction. I was in the hospital for a year and a half, after which I could never walk again. Since then, I have used a wheelchair to get around. Continue reading