Larry Myers, member of the South Ukiah Rotary Club is a survivor of polio
Larry Myers, member of the South Ukiah Rotary Club is a survivor of polio, acquired at age 6.  He has been a Rotarian since 1973 and was a District Governor in 1984.  Since 2002 he has been the Polio Plus chairman for the Rotary Foundation and has been responsible for bringing over $10 million in donations for this worthwhile cause.
Larry has had a lifelong interest in Rotary because it has always been responsive to the needs in the local as well as international communities.  He feels honored to have had this opportunity to serve Rotary International in helping to eradicate   poliomyelitis from the world.
He gave a rather detailed history of the days surrounding his diagnosis and treatment of polio.  At age 6 he awoke one morning with left sided paralysis and was immediately taken to the hospital where he was placed in isolation from all contact with family.  His only human contact was with the caregivers in the polio ward at the hospital.  This was in the 1940s when there were no cures for the disease, in fact, there was no consensus as to what caused polio.  There was a clear association of polio outbreaks with summertime activities at swimming pools and  other places where people gathered.  Hence there was a great deal of fear in the community, not knowing where the disease may be lurking, and a great deal of isolation of those people who happened to have contracted the disease, for fear that they may spread it to another person.
He gave a graphic description of the hospital stays that children endured.  Although he did not require an "iron lung" he did pass by the iron lung ward several times during his hospital stay (in his wheelchair) and recalls the noise and flurry of activities of all of the healthcare providers that were caring for these children and young adults whose respiratory muscles had been paralyzed and were living in cylinders with bellows that would alternately inflate and deflate their lungs continuously until respiratory muscles recovered or, as was often the case, the young person died.  It was indeed a frightening disease, made all the worse by the social isolation n which the victims were forced to live.
He made a recovery from his paralysis.  He is now suffering from post polio syndrome which is a recurrence of the injury that originally damaged his motor neurons and led to his paralysis.  As years progressed, the  motor neuron cells that were originally injured, but which never completely recovered, show signs of ongoing deterioration.  Although the poliovirus is no longer active in one's body, the nerve damage takes its progressive toll over the years leading to recurrence of symptoms that were similar to those of the original illness, to which are added symptoms of pain and abnormal sensation and a generalized feeling of fatigue.  Almost everyone who has experienced paralytic polio in some degree will encounter postpolio syndrome in their lifetime.
Survivors of paralytic polio for many years have been reluctant to discuss their conditions publicly, or even admitting them to their family because of the emotional stress that they endured when they were ill.  Larry has been instrumental in leading groups that have allowed people to talk, some for the first time in their lives, about what it was like to have polio and to share that experience with their families, other survivors, and by doing so get a greater understanding of what they are going through at the present time.
With a near complete eradication of paralytic polio in the world (1-3 cases worldwide 201 in 2016) the population that suffers with post polio syndrome will gradually decrease.  However, the world must be ever vigilant that this disease does not make a recurrence.  Ongoing efforts spearheaded by Rotary International will continue to make the world a place that is safe from this devastating illness.