Ron Blackwell ~ Polio 1948 ~ Canberra Campaign Hero
Campaign Hero Ron Blackwell is travelling from South Australia and heading to Canberra on Wednesday 29th October 2014. Ron will be avocating for the service needs of polio survivors in his state.
Ron contracted polio as a child in 1948. The photographs below show Ron in 1949 (left) and in 1958 (right).
What is a memorable childhood experience?
I remember walking through the kitchen in 1948, aged 9, on the morning after a night of headache and vomiting. I stumbled and my father responded “pick your feet up, son”. However, from that point on my foot would always need careful lifting. Subsequently I have had to wear odd size shoes, sizes 6 and 9, and a support to raise my right foot. Three weeks after that morning it was confirmed that I had polio and I spent 18 – 20 months at the Somerton Crippled Children’s Home in Adelaide, nearly 300 kilometres from my home.
How have the late effects of polio impacted on you?
I now have to cope with the late effects of polio. I suffer from fatigue, difficulty with my good leg, suffering cramps and subsequently needing a new hip. I continue to live as normal a life as possible, but need far more sleep and rest.
Why are you going to Canberra?
I am going to Canberra to keep the polio problem to the fore, especially for those requiring mobility assistance, and keep the awareness of post polio in front of the Medical Services and the Government. Furthermore, I’m advocating for better education of medical practitioners to help them recognise the late effects of polio in people not originally diagnosed as sufferers.
Please send Ron a message of support for his Canberra campaign by making a comment below.
It is now February 2016. I just arrived at the Polio NSW site and found your story. I wonder how the Canberra campaign went? Recently, I heard The Body Sphere program on ABC RN and learnt that there is a Post Polio Conference coming up in Sept. So I will probably go to that.
My polio story is that I did not know I had had it until I was in my twenties. An older physio had a look at my feet and exclaimed – “These are the weakest feet I have ever seen. You have had polio! But I can help you’ And she did. I went home that day and told Mum. She said that I had been paralysed as a baby and no one knew what was wrong. It would have been in the mid 1940s.
It gave an answer to why my feet were always sore, I got cramps and was not physically as strong as others. And shoes never fitted me.
These days I love to walk but easily get sore joints and fatigue. It is hard to estimate how far I can go before doing too much.
Thank you for reading my comment, Ron