Monday, October 3, 2016


John Nanni (10.03.2013, reply) "I am a polio survivor and suffer from severe post-polio syndrome (PPS). At the age of 10 months old in 1953 (months before the Salk vaccine was widely distributed), I was paralyzed from my neck down for 6 months. After the polio virus did its damage, my mother performed (on me) extensive PT developed by Sister Kenny, an Australian nurse, which stopped my muscles fro atrophying.

I recovered and now lead a "normal" life. I played baseball, basketball and football as a teenager. Forty years later, I started to have renewed weakness, pain and severe fatigue. After 2 years and 10 different doctors, I was finally diagnosed with severe PPS.

Under my PPS Dr. care, I have learned how to best deal with PPS and how to preserve my ability to walk. To do so, I am now in a wheelchair for most of my mobility needs outside my home. I am limited to under 900 walking steps per day. I do deep water running to help keep my muscles active without damaging them. I eat a high protein diet because I like it and protein helps reduce fatigue.
I joined Polio Network of New Jersey (PNNJ) in 1992 to learn more about PPS In September 2012,
I was appointed to their board of directors. PNNS is a wonderful organization dedicated to help polio survivors deal with PPS.

I joined RI in 2010 after being a guest lecturer at the Rotary Club of Hamilton Township (Mercer Co., New Jersey). I have been appointed to the Rotary District 7510 Polio Plus committee and was part of the Polio Plus delegation to the UN General Assembly's special session on September 27, 2012 with world leaders and Bill Gates meeting to "Unite Against Polio" ( eradication/2012/10/03/un.event-inspires). RI has played a major role from 1985 when they started their Polio Plus project to "End Polio Now". Rotary has helped reduce polio cases from 350,000 per year in 1985 to only 223 WPV cases in 2012.

My polio goals are: (1) To play a role in helping RI and Global Eradication Initiative (GPEI) eradicate polio worldwide in three remaining countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria,(2) To help other polio survivors and their families learn how to best deal with PPS, (3) To help educate doctors and other medical personnel about PPS, (4) To advocate for greater accessibility for the handicapped."

Sincerely in Rotary Service,
John Nanni

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Joe Randig (11.22.2013, reply): "Hello, Esther, I am a 66 year old polio survivor. I have had PT a few times over the past few years, and I would recommend it (PT) with caution. The place I go has a gym membership that lets me use their equipment to exercise. I had surgery on my left shoulder and thought that I would need it on my right shoulder also. I got involved in a restricted exercise program to maintain range of motion and strength. After several months, my shoulder pain decreased and my strength improved making it easier to get around on my crutches. Just make sure that the therapist completely understands your situation and goals. Take it easy, go slow, and let your body determine how much you can do. Good Luck-Joe."

Monday, September 5, 2016


Esther Salinas, (2.8.2013, Laredo, TX)- "I am a polio survivor having contracted polio in 1955 at the age of 12. I am now 69. I was almost 100% paralyzed, able to move only my fingers and hand. After receiving extensive PT at the Gonzales Warm Springs Foundation in Olin , TX for 6 months and continuing PT at home in Laredo for an additional 2 years, I regained most of my strength. I thought I was 'cured' and I then enjoyed a very active personal and professional for about 10 years.

I would then be faced with unexplained generalized pain, loss of strength, stamina and energy only 
to discover after personal research that these symptoms were late effects of polio, or post polio syndrome(PPS). I was no longer able to continue with my career in education, and I was unable to make it through the workday. Today, although I am able to walk with assisted devices, I have energy and strength to be  minimally active for about three hours a day, from about 11 am till about 2 pm.
The rest of my day is spent either sitting or lying down. While I am out of my home, I use an electric
scooter, or the scooters provided by some businesses.

What lies ahead concerns me as I become weaker. Currently, I am not receiving any treatment other than the prescription medication for depression, pain, sleep, HBP and elevated cholesterol. I am wondering whether PT would slow down my progressive weakness or if it would accelerate the loss of muscle strength. When I was first diagnosed with PPS, I was told I should ' conserve to preserve', i.e., conserve energy to preserve muscles. I wonder if any polio survivor who is reading this has found PT to be helpful or harmful...or whether some other treatment has proven to be helpful in either slowing down or halting the progression of your symptoms. Thank you."

Sunday, August 28, 2016


The ones whose soul and heart are filled with high purpose. Yes, these are the living ones.-Victor Hugo

The Rotary Foundation has within their action groups a "polio survivors and associates" subgroup who refer to themselves as "Voices of Polio". Their goal is to let those with polio or family members tell their stories of how polio has defined their lives. (RI website)

Earl Dean Popplewell (9.22.2012 reply): " I had polio back in 1944-45 when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I was sick with fevers and very weak for a couple of months. One day, I remember carrying an arm load of toys across the room that had been given to me, because I had been sick in our farm house in Kentucky. I fell to the floor totally paralyzed. I remember my mother rushing over picking me up and I slid between her arms and fell to the floor again. My father  drove me to the children's hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. where I spent about 6 months, part of which was in the iron lung. I left the hospital wearing braces on both legs for around 20 years. About 20 years ago, I hurt my knee skiing and developed PPS, which left me with a slight limp. It appears that polio does come back for people that had polio previously after they had some form of traumatic injury, as I did. I can consider myself lucky. I believe there are many people that have not been so lucky."

Saturday, July 16, 2016


" Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases"- Hippocrates: Aphorisms

" Polio (poliomyelitis, infantile paralysis) is a highly contagious, sometimes fatal viral infection that affects nerves and can cause permanent muscle weakness, paralysis and other symptoms.

  • Polio is caused by poliovirus, an entrovirus which is spread by swallowing material contaminated by the virus.
  • Serious symptoms include: fever, headache, stiff neck, back, deep muscle pain, and sometimes weakness or paralysis.
  • The diagnosis is based on symptoms and the results of a stool culture.
  • Some children recover completely, whereas others have permanent weakness.
  • Routine vaccination can prevent the infection.
  • There is no cure for polio.
In the early 20th century, polio was widespread throughout the United States. Today, because of extensive vaccination, polio outbreaks have largely disappeared, and most doctors have never seen a new polio infection. The last case of wild polio virus (WPV) infection in the US occurred in 1979. The Western Hemisphere was certified polio free in 1994. A global polio eradication program has been underway for decades, but cases still occur in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. Unimmunized people of all ages are susceptible to polio, however, polio outbreaks occurred mainly in children and adolescents. Many other people had already been exposed to the virus and developed immunity." (The Merck Manual Home Health Book, 2009)

There are statistics that have accumulated over the 20th century that underscore the widespread devastation, not only of human deaths and disfigurement, but also the contagion of fear. In 1988, a public health effort to eliminate all cases of polio infection around the world was led by WHO, UNICEF, and The Rotary Foundation (Polio Plus). This has reduced the number of annual (WPV- wild polio virus) diagnosed cases from the hundreds of thousands to 94 in 2015. (TRF website). Even though this represents a 99.9% reduction (Wikipedia), there has been a bounce back of WPV in some countries. The fight against polio continues. Dr. Jonas Salk is immortalized in annals of medicine for his development of the polio vaccine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


"Rarely does a person ever have the opportunity to test the limits of his ability. We can accomplish pretty much whatever we make up our minds to accomplish. If we are not forced to test our strength through dire necessity, through struggle, through hardship, we seldom discover our possibilities."- Napoleon Hill

In September, 1953, Jerry was in charge of managing the exhibits at the Santa Clara County Fair when he became very ill. He held up long enough to complete his job. He was taken to the Santa Clara County Hospital in a coma. When he woke up days later, he was paralyzed and placed into an iron lung. He had contracted poliomyelitis (polio). During that time, he had several operations, mostly to hold his head up coupled with a tracheotomy. Jerry spent 18 months in an iron lung.

After Jerry was out of the iron lung for brief periods, he was determined to spend his time at the print shop. He couldn't do much , but he could tell people what and how to do things. A worker from the shop would pick him up at the hospital in the morning so that he could work, and was returned to the hospital so he could sleep in the iron lung. Jerry's polio had paralyzed his lungs which caused him to struggle with his breathing when he was out of the iron lung. He was able to walk and move around, but that was about all he could do. Jerry weighed about 100 lbs, his head held up by a brace. He could not turn his head, and his arms were in slings. He couldn't move his fingers, and he was hand fed at the hospital with puree food and avocados. Jerry became aware by an old friend, Joyce Young, of polio treatments and surgeries done at a hospital in Rancho Los Amigos, Downey CA. She made arrangements for him to to be admitted into this hospital and drove him there where he underwent several operations on his arms and hands. This was a huge struggle for him.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Jerry Erich's mother met and married a printer, Lawrence Dugdale, who owned the Graphic Arts Press, located on So. Second Street in San Jose. Jerry started working and learning about the printing business at an early age under the tutelage of his step-father. He attended Lincoln Grade School, Woodrow Wilson Jr. HS and graduated from San Jose HS in 1947 which was located on the campus of San Jose State University. He worked at his step-father's shop most of his spare time, and he had a passion for all sports, especially basketball. He was involved in the First Methodist Church and its youth group. Jerry enrolled at SJSU taking business and printing classes, and he found the time to take printing classes at Stanford.

Jerry as a young adult was very ambitious and had plans of accomplishing many things in his life. He wanted to get involved in local politics and gave thought to running for mayor of San Jose. He had big ideas on how San Jose could improve and become a major city. He also tried to enlist in the Navy but was rejected due to a disability. Jerry was running the print shop most of the time when it was decided to build a building for the new print shop on N. Fourth St. He sold the house he bought on Reed St. ($6500) and moved to a nicer, bigger place on Alum Rock Ave. Things were going well for Jerry, and he was learning a new style of printing called "offset printing" at a school in Oakland. All that changed in September, 1953.

Jerry Erich's history as a young adult would serve him well as a family man, business owner, Rotarian and philanthropist. The roots of true conservatism were planted in him- a respect for tradition, hard work, frugality, service of community, stoicism in the face of adversity.