My Rotary Story......

 
 

For my mother....

One of my earliest recollection of my mother is at the age of 4.  I don’t remember when I realized that scars were the result of a healed wound rather than an injury, but the summer of 1974 I noticed pronounced scars on my mother’s leg.  Oblivious to the fact that they were already healed, I said to her “mommy, your leg is hurt and I’m going to take care of you”...

 
I then proceeded to get the first aid kit and use just about every band aid and bandage there was to wrap my mom’s leg.  Well I’m sure that my mother wanted to stop me; not only because I was obliterating the first aid kit, but because she was sunbathing in the backyard at the time……  but like a loving mother, she let me keep going until I said “there mommy, you will be all better now”.    At that age it never occurred to me to ask how she got the scars.   
 

A few years later I finally asked my mother about her scars.  She took out a photo album and began to tell me the story of her Polio when she was a little girl.  Her story made me cry…..  she showed me photos of her in hospital beds, leg braces, and told me of the multiple surgeries to stretch her leg bones.  She understated that it hurt, but reassured me that it was well worth it to allow her to walk and become my mother.   Much later I researched Polio and learned of the 1916 United States Polio epidemic and the epidemics that continued to appear the following  summers in at least one part of the country……  worsening in the 1940s and 1950s  when my mother became a victim.  Polio was so serious that in 1949, over 2,700 deaths resulted from the disease in the United States alone.    Though many young people have never heard of Polio, it is important to know that it has destroyed or limited many lives and still does to this day.  The story of my mothers' Polio had a profound effect on me that will last all my life.

In 2008 I learned that my mother was suffering from Post Polio Syndrome.  Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after recovery from an initial acute attack of the poliomyelitis virus.  Post-polio syndrome weakens muscles that were previously affected by the polio infection in addition to muscles that seemingly were unaffected before.  I just had to find a way to help and found the Rotary Polio Plus program and the efforts they were making worldwide.  I immediately made my first donation so that no single person would ever have to experience what my mother has had to deal with her whole life.  A year later I chose to become a Rotarian for one simple reason…..  to show love and support for my mother.  As it turns out, as a Rotarian I am able to spread that love for my mother to many more people than I ever imagined......   

Polio Plus is in it’s 30th year and has made tremendous progress in the eradication of this disease from the face of the earth.  WE ARE SO CLOSE!!!!   This is the home stretch and the most important.  You don’t need to be a Rotarian to be a part of this monumental task, though I would highly recommend it for a life enhancing experience.    

Please visit http://www.endpolio.org/ and sign the petition asking world leaders to  provide critical funding needed to end polio forever.  At this page you can also make a contribution in your name or in the name of a loved one if you so choose.  AND what a difference your donation could make…..  for every dollar donated, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match it with two dollars.  

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my Rotary story with you.