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POLIO Forgotten But Not Gone

By Joe Randig

In 2014 the Pennsylvania Polio Survivors Network (PPSN) was formed, by a polio survivor living near Philadelphia.  After years of frustrating misdiagnosis, Carol Ferguson realized that a resource for credible information was needed for the thousands of polio survivors who were facing the late effects of Polio (known as PPS). A small team of volunteers, including polio survivors, friends and licensed professionals, all of whom believed in our mission of service, was established.

Our network was launched with this mission statement:
“To be in Service Providing Information to all Polio Survivors, Post-Polio Support Groups, Survivor’s
Families and Caregivers.” Through the generosity of Richard Bruno, Ph.D., William DeMayo, M.D., Marny
Eulberg, M.D., Daniel Wilson, Ph.D., and other professionals, our website features an extensive
collection of articles on PPS, polio history, and survivor rehabilitation.

Our professional contributors regularly answer survivor’s questions, write informative articles, and share their knowledge.

We serve ALL polio survivors regardless of where they are from and charge no dues. We are funded
solely by, and grateful for, all donations.

Some highlights on our accomplishments:

  • Our newsletter is published monthly for no charge by email. (US mail is available for minimal cost). 
  • Regular updates to our website include a large collection of information from our medical professionals; survivors’ personal stories; physicians’ guides and much more.
  • We have published an Anesthesia Warning/PPS Symptom Card that links to articles regarding what can be the very significant effects anesthesia can have on polio survivors. These articles contain the biographies of the authors.
  • We have sponsored two conferences and a worldwide webcast (content is available at our website).
  • We participate with the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition; attending, exhibiting and speaking at conferences.
  • Team Survivor supports Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate polio. Survivors and their families have become part of the solution.
  • We produced “Polio Truths”, a video that explains the reality that the effects of polio never goes away.  It explains the reality of PPS (the “long-hauler” effect of this devastating virus).
  • In an effort to be a resource for credible information about ALL childhood vaccines, we have collaborated with Rotarians, to create a Vaccine Information Card that is distributed for no charge to physicians and hospitals.  It has a direct link to the Vaccine Education Center at CHOP, and references for additional sources where parents can find accurate, current information on vaccinations. 
  • Our work was featured in the September, 2020 issue of Rotary Magazine and at a press conference hosted by PA Health Secretary, Dr. Rachael Levine.

It is the positive response to our work from polio survivors all over the US and abroad that has been
humbling and 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. We are survivors of a vaccine preventable
disease who have come together to serve others by providing information so they too can thrive.



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