Graeme and his wife, polio survivor Joan, are travelling from Victoria to add their voices to our Campaign in Canberra on Wednesday 29th October 2014. Graeme is coming to Canberra in order to support Joan and Polio Australia.

What is a memorable childhood experience?

I did not have polio, and did not know anything about it until I met Joan. The most memorable experience for me was when Joan organised an information day about polio. Her mother and sisters attended and so did our son, Mark. This gave me and the family some insight into the way that polio had affected Joan as a child, and the way things might go in the future. This day was very emotional for Joan’s mother and sisters who had never really talked about the way polio affected them. I think this day was a turning point for the family.

How have the late effects of polio impacted on you?

I have had to realise how the late effects of polio have impacted Joan. I have had to think about the way we do various activities like, gardening, house work, socialising, the places we go and how we take our holidays. I have to walk slower so that Joan can keep up. We purchased a mobility scooter which has been a great success, and it has given Joan a greater level of independence.

Why are you going to Canberra?

For the same reasons as Joan – “We have to educate our politicians about the issues and needs of polio survivors today. Polio Australia funding is urgently needed to advocate and educate our medical providers, the wider community and even polio survivors ourselves, in order to obtain appropriate support to maintain as much independence as possible. Funding providers need to understand that while post polio syndrome occurs later in life it is not a normal part of ageing, and aged care assistance doesn’t cover the associated costs. It is an on-going and degenerative disability.”

Please send Graeme a message of support for his Canberra campaign by making a comment below.


Graeme Smith ~ Canberra Campaign Hero — 1 Comment

  1. I have to send a message to you because I’m a polio survivor too and because I see you will be visiting my town on the 29th Oct, 2014. (*It’s 27th today, so I’m cutting it fine I know, but I just found Joan’s story).

    I was born in Maryborough Victoria, I contracted polio round about 1950-51 (*not 100% sure of date because my Mum died when I was 6 and Dad passed away at age 60 in 1982 so nobody knows exactly.) Anyhow, I went through all the same system as your wife, stayed at Lady Dugan, had treatment, was put into a calliper at age 13, went through the Crippled Children’s society and moved up here (Canberra) with my (dec) husband and 3 children in 1979.

    I wear a calliper but tend to spend most of my time in a wheelchair now days since I retired because it’s just safer. I have had many falls in recent years and broke the polio leg but I can walk short distances with the calliper and crutches. I have been diagnosed with PPS and do have to work around a bit of fatigue so the chair helps.

    I just wanted to let you know that I Googled “Lady Dugan” tonight and found Joan’s story and read it through and had a few smiles as well as a couple of nods, we have much in common. I don’t even think about Government help nowadays but seeing as there are others in my boat a bit of solidarity wouldn’t hurt.