John M.
A Polio Story

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One day John was an active 12-year-old riding his bike, playing baseball, and climbing trees. The next day, he remembers feeling bad, missing school, developing a limp, and being in an ambulance on his way to the hospital. He went to the Industrial Home for Crippled Children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for rehabilitation. He was in a ward with five other boys, one with tuberculosis, two with cerebral palsy, and two other polio patients. The first step in the recovery process came from a physical therapist who put John through a very painful process, seven days a week, working to and past the point of pain for every muscle affected. Once a week they went to the pool. There he was put onto a submerged board where a physical therapist would work him over. John was fitted for braces, given a wheelchair, and finally returned home to attend 8th grade. As a result of his illness, he has used crutches for 65 years and was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome at age 79. Read his full story on the PA Polio Survivor’s Network website.