Po­lio has not gone away for sur­vivors

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - ANNE WAFULA-STRIKE MBE Am­bas­sador for The Bri­tish Po­lio Fel­low­ship

WHEN I was two years old I was struck down by po­lio. I was for­tu­nate; I sur­vived the virus that has killed so many.

There are about 120,000 po­lio sur­vivors liv­ing in Bri­tain and I am proud to be counted as one of them.

It re­ally sad­dens me that, all too of­ten, I hear peo­ple speak of po­lio as be­ing a ‘dis­ease of the past’ in Bri­tain when in fact there are many thou­sands of peo­ple, just like me, who are still liv­ing with the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of the virus. For that rea­son I teamed up with The Bri­tish Po­lio Fel­low­ship, and am hon­oured to be their am­bas­sador, rais­ing aware­ness about the of­ten un­spo­ken, hid­den plight of the UK’s po­lio sur­vivors.

Your read­ers may have seen me un­veil­ing an amaz­ing dress, specif­i­cally de­signed to ac­com­mo­date a wheel­chair. It was de­signed by a great Bri­tish fashion de­signer, Aleah Leigh, out of 3,500 re­cy­cled train tick­ets, to help il­lus­trate that some­thing for­got­ten can once again not only cap­ture peo­ple’s at­ten­tion but can have a true, valu­able pur­pose in ways peo­ple had not imag­ined. Just like po­lio sur­vivors.

I want po­lio to cap­ture peo­ple’s at­ten­tion again. The ef­fects of the virus still af­fects peo­ple in the UK and, for many of them, life is about to get a whole lot harder.

Post-Po­lio Syn­drome (PPS) will af­fect 80 per cent of po­lio sur­vivors. It makes limbs more painful and mo­bil­ity even more dif­fi­cult.

We are in great need of your sup­port and at­ten­tion, so please don’t ig­nore us. Google The Bri­tish Po­lio Fel­low­ship and dis­cover the fan­tas­tic work it does, and con­sider sup­port­ing the char­ity. The cam­paign hash­tag is #po­liopps­dress.

Thank you.

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