A support group for polio survivors

Although Canada was certified polio-free in 1994, the crippling disease continues to affect survivors both mentally and physically.

A number of citizens in the Fraser Valley live with Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS), which causes pain that ranges from manageable to extremely challenging with limited mobility.

Regardless of muscle deterioration and lowered levels of endurance caused by the disease, those struggling with PPS often try to maintain a level of normality in their daily activities.

Abbotsford has three local Rotary clubs which are involved in the awareness and eradication of polio.

Polio is a highly infectious disease that attacks the human nervous system, leading to partial or full paralysis, the shortening of limbs, difficulty breathing and in the most severe cases, death. Generally, children under the age of five are plagued with the disease.

The first polio vaccination was created in 1952 by Dr. Jonas Salk, and now only four countries remain polio endemic: India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The local Rotary clubs provide funding for vaccinations against the disease and have immunized over two billion children.

The clubs have also partnered to create the Post-Polio Awareness and Support Society of British Columbia, or PPASS.

The meetings are held bimonthly in Abbotsford, assisting individuals coping with the syndrome through communication and support.

David Holland, vice-president of PPASS, oversees the planning of meetings in the Lower Mainland.

As a survivor of polio, he understands the importance of an outlet where people can speak about the challenges associated with PPS.

The meetings serve as motivation to push through the pain.

In the past, the club hosted PPASS meetings as a day-long conference featuring a variety of speakers. However, the lengthy hours proved too strenuous for the reduced stamina of the members.

For more information regarding the bimonthly group, contact

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