Wednesday, October 23, 2013

End Polio Now!

I grew up with polio.  No, I didn’t have polio.  I was born after the Salk vaccine was routine practice in the USA.  My dad was a polio survivor, and a physiatrist who devoted his clinic and research to helping “old-polios” as he referred to people who had polio in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Dr. Richard R. Owen was a strong advocate for strength conditioning for polio patients to combat the effects of “post-polio syndrome.”

My dad’s polio provided him with challenges that he embraced.  With two canes, Kenny Sticks, braces, and a big heart, he explored the outdoors, competed in wheelchair basketball, track, swimming, and Ping-Pong.  Polio never slowed him down.  In fact, it almost always made him stronger.  He was an incredible role model.  He spoke with great reverence for Dr. Salk, Dr. Sabin, and Sister Kenny. He worked at Courage Center and Sister Kenny Institute. 

My dad’s obituary was sub-titled, “He kept fighting polio.  Which he did.  I know that he would be saddened by recent reports that the war refugees of Syria’s war are reporting possible out-breaks of polio.  I also know that he would be thrilled with the continuing efforts of Rotary International with their End Polio Now campaign.  Today, October 24, is World Polio Day. Please join the fight. We really are this close to ending polio!