Polio survivor shares story with Dothan Rotary Club

Local News

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Dothan’s Rotary Club commemorated World Polio Day Thursday by discussing its PolioPlus program.

The program was launched in 1985 to help combat the spread of the disease by funding health initiatives.

“We promised the children of the world in 1984 we would eradicate polio from the world,” William Petty, North Governor of Rotary said. “It’s not gone.”

Currently, there are only three countries that have never stopped the transmission of Polio. In 2016, there were 37 polio cases confirmed worldwide in 2016.

Maryann Hall, a survivor of the virus, said she was only nine months when a doctor confirmed she had Polio.

“I ran a high fever, and that’s classic Polio symptoms for about two weeks when I was around nine months, and they diagnosed me after,” Hall said.

Hall said although she doesn’t remember that far back, but at the age of 5, she realized she was different.

“I don’t remember how long after, but at nine months old, you’re growing very quickly, so the right leg and foot definitely were stunted in growth relative to normal growth,” Hall said.

“I was prescribed a special shoe to wear, and it was more of an Oxford, and it really didn’t give my right foot any support,” she added. “And I was always turning my ankle with or without (the) shoe.”

She said she lived across the street from a recreational center, and she was able to take advantage of the pool — which helped her a lot.

There are still 88 cases of polio in the world in Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. Petty said they will continue to immunize children throughout the world.

There are three types of polio, and out of the three, two have been completely eradicated.

You can read more about Rotary International’s efforts to end polio here.

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