Pictured are polio survivors Sean Bennett and Barbara Chadwick (front) with Niamh Murphy, Polio Survivors Ireland, at Waterford’s City Square Shopping Centre on Sunday 25th August, promoting the National Polio Register.
The Polio Register is currently rolling out to get a clearer picture of how many polio survivors are living in Waterford, to help advocate for their future.
“Many polio survivors have problems now and don’t want to admit it,” says Barbara Chadwick, who had polio when she was 18 months old and spent four years in the Fever Hospital in Waterford as a child. “Unless people come forward and register they may not get the help they need. When I was first made aware of Polio Survivors Ireland, it was because my sister sent me information. She thought it sounded like my problems and they were.”
As they age, polio survivors can be impacted by Late Effects of Polio or Post Polio Syndrome. It is believed that there are 7,000 polio survivors in Ireland, yet only 1,000 are members of the support charity.
“It’s a hard thing for people to admit that they need help. I am so strong minded that I will not ask for help unless I have to. There’s loads of help to be got,” Barbara says. “The majority of polio survivors have led active lives and held down good jobs. When the sting in the tail of Post Polio Syndrome comes, it’s hard to stop what you normally do – but you can’t do the usual things on your own. I would advise anyone to just register, they don’t have to take it any further if they want, but just join the Polio Register. That way they are linked in if they need help.”
By registering polio survivors are helping to safeguard the future of all polio survivors, whether or not they are experiencing the Late Effects of Polio. With their help Polio Survivors Ireland can make sure that polio survivors have a stronger voice.
Also pictured, Sean Bennett, Polio Survivors Ireland member and Gerard Sheridan, Waterford Rotary, who work tirelessly to End Polio in the countries where it still prevails.