York County Medicine Spring 2020 - 18

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

FEATURE:

Polio: If ONLY It Was a Thing of the Past.
continued from page 17

April is now Polio Awareness Month (passed unanimously
by our PA State Representatives) along with National Infant
Immunization and World Immunization week(s). Each year,
we launch a new initiative during that month. Over the
last five years, these projects have grown to be increasingly
more meaningful. We began with Anesthesia Warning cards
(mentioned above). These cards have had a positive response
from polio survivors and health care professionals all over the US.
We now create and distribute images that encourage vaccination.
The concerns about lack of childhood vaccinations are front
and center in the news. One of our April projects, easily shared
with school nurses and pediatricians, has a direct link to the
Rotary International video: "Why Zero Matters," a film that
explains just how easily polio or any virus could return to (or)
emerge in any country.

PA Network Survivors Carol Ferguson and
Deb Stambaugh exhibiting at the PA State
Immunization Conference in Harrisburg.
In December of 2014, we made the decision that we would
continue to be active as long as it is necessary. It is our dream
that post polio care will become main stream for health care
professionals and survivors. We are grateful to be working with
generous professionals who are experienced in the care of polio
survivors and understand the long term effects (both mental
and physical) of the poliovirus. The opportunity to read and
publish their work on a regular basis is something we will never
take for granted and want to continue.
The positive response from health care professionals when
we talk at presentations about the "Polio Truths" has been
truly inspiring. We are grateful for their wanting to attend and
encourage their questions and concerns. We talk about ideas
such as "non paralytic" polio being able to result in PPS, the
reality of there being survivors seeking care who are not old
enough to be eligible for Medicare and Yes, PPS does exist.
We talk about how credentialed our professional contributors
are referring to the easy access through our website to their
biographies/websites.

When they announced that Vaccine Hesitancy was one of
the Top Ten Global Health Threats, the WHO made our 20192020 initiative the most meaningful yet. As a result, we went
to work partnering with the Rotary Clubs in PA and the PA
Immunization Coalition (PAIC) to create a Vaccine Information
Card. It is our goal to raise enough funds to print and distribute
this card to every new parent in our State. (Printing Donations
will come only from Rotary Clubs, Individuals and our Non
Profit Partners.) We are happy to have the support of the Vaccine
Education Center at CHOP, and have included their direct link
information on the card and on our website. This project was
featured at press conferences by both PA State Senator Judy
Schwank and PA Secretary of Health Dr. Rachael Levine.
For some of us, PPS brings the answer to "I always knew
something was wrong" along with dependence on assistive
devices for the very first time. For the majority, along with
new pain and weakness, PPS brings memories long forgotten
- memories of long hospitalizations, isolation, fear and
abandonment. For young survivors, we present the reality of
PPS with the hope they can begin the lifestyle changes at an
early age that can perhaps reduce symptoms later. We provide
information that can help survivors to help themselves and thus
be independent once more.
It is the positive response to our work, from polio survivors
in the Keystone State, all over the US and abroad, that has
been humbling and truly inspiring. The four survivors on our
team see the effects of polio as something that we have but not
something that will continue to define us. The non survivors,
truly wonderful family and friends on our volunteer team, are
focused on our energy, not on our disability. That combination
has resulted in what we believe to be a positive and encouraging
message when discussing the reality of the very painful and
difficult, late effects of this disease.
We are survivors of a vaccine preventable disease who have
come together to serve others by providing them information, so
they too can thrive.

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York County Medicine | SPRING 2020


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York County Medicine Spring 2020

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