Bucks County Herald

Polio network offers resources to survivors

On April 22, 2015 the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a unanimous Resolution, naming April as Polio Awareness Month.

This gift has a dual purpose: To draw attention to the estimated 1.1 million polio survivors in the United States and to recognize the disabling effects of post-polio syndrome; and to recognize the importance of being immunized against the crippling disease.

The Pennsylvania Polio Survivors Network is a licensed, nonprofit organization whose purpose recognizes that polio survivors worldwide are becoming more disabled as post-polio syndrome (PPS) takes over their bodies.

There are an estimated 1.1 million polio survivors in the United States of which 80 percent will likely develop PPS. Polio survivors typically don’t feel open to discuss their polio history. They believed it was done and over with. They have chosen to go forward. As a result and as PPS slowly emerges, Polio survivors tend to feel very alone. Pennsylvania is the home of many active and vibrant Polio Survivors and sadly, it is also the home of many survivors who have not been able to connect with others. Over the last two years we have networked with over 1,000 survivors (in the US and abroad) and helped to ease the loneliness with information, regular written communication and personal phone calls when necessary.

Over the last year, the Pennsylvania Network team has made presentations to various groups and attended senior health fairs all over the state. In addition to polio survivors finding the network, caregiving professionals sharing their interest in learning about post-polio syndrome has been a common theme at each of them.

Because of the significant worldwide efforts of Rotary International and the Gates Foundation, polio is still present in only three impoverished countries. Vaccination is the only way to eradicate the disease.

The PA Polio Survivors Network champions the efforts of Rotary International’s “End Polio Now” campaign, which is leading the effort to vaccinate children in every corner of the world.
For information, visit papolionetwork.org.

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