John Nanni was our dinner speaker on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. John is the Rotary District 7630 (Doylestown Rotary is in District 7430) Polio Plus Chair and a member of the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend Rotary Club in Delaware. John is a Polio survivor who was paralyzed from the neck down for six months as a child and still uses a wheelchair for much of his daily activity. He spoke to us about Polio's effects and Rotary's active roll conquering it, as well as Post-Polio Syndrome which effects survivors (including John) up to 30 years after the original virus attack.

Three P’s in John’s life are: Polio, Post-Polio Syndrome, and Polio Plus. There are 2 million polio survivors in the US and 20 million around the world, many suffer the after-effects of Polio, Post -Polio Syndrome. John started his presentation by asking everyone to shake hands. Before the Salk vaccine, if John had the early stages of Polio, we would now all be infected. 
 
John was paralyzed by polio just six months after the polio vaccine became available. When he turned 40 he started having symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome. The actual polio virus doesn't’t come back but the symptoms do - 20, 30 or even 40 years after surviving have polio; it affects up to 75% of polio survivors. Post-Polio Syndrome is the reason he uses a wheelchair now.
 
John talked about Rotary’s positive impact on reducing Polio worldwide since it became a Rotary priority. John discussed how, when when polio is eradicated, Rotary’s distribution system will be used to eradicate other diseases.
 
John mentioned that the March of Dimes began with President Roosevelt, who was infected by polio in his late 20s. When he was president, he asked people to mail a dime to the White House to help fund research on Polio. This led to the organization we know today as the March of Dimes. John also showed pictures of children with purple pinkies. When volunteers vaccinate children in the developing world, they paint the child’s pinkie purple to signify they have received the vaccine.  The dye lasts a few weeks and is why one of the district's Polio fund raisers is called the Purple Pinkie Run.
 
Thank you John for a very informative presentation on Polio and Rotary.
 

Click on the image below to learn the status of PolioPlus