Posted by Barbara Beagle on Oct 17, 2019
October 24 is World Polio Day, and on October 17 Rotarians welcomed polio survivor Sue Shipley to our Club to hear her story.  Rotary Foundation Chair Peggy Templeton introduced Sue (pictured below on right with a polio "virus") as a “servant leader” who is a member of the East Bremerton Club, is a retired elementary special education teacher and school principal, and is a past District 5020 Assistant Governor.
 
“My story is not a sad polio story,” Sue said by way of introduction.  What IS sad is that children are still contracting polio, a totally preventable disease, in Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and many will be destined to drag themselves around in the dust and dirt for the rest of their lives.
 
Sue’s polio story started in 1949 in Idaho at the age of 18 months, where during an epidemic her family and home were quarantined.  She likened it to the panic that permeated communities before the cause of AIDS was discovered.  Polio affected her left side and Achilles tendon, and what followed were years of casts, crutches, surgeries, a long stay in a Shriners Hospital where she only saw her Mother once or twice a month, and follow on treatments.   Later in life she experienced difficult pregnancies, and more recently, post-polio syndrome which has resulted in several more foot surgeries.
 
“I learned that I was different,” Sue said, “and it changed my life.  But I always wondered why I didn’t get polio “as bad” as others.” The resulting gratitude that she lived in a country where care and treatments were available caused her to spend her life giving back.  She asked us to “dig deep” and donate to Polio Plus, because “nobody needs to get polio.”  For more about the polio campaign, go to https://www.endpolio.org/.  You can go online and donate at https://www.endpolio.org/donate .