Monday, October 04, 2010

Bill and Melina Gates a Portrait of Greatness the Eradication of Polio and Care of Its Survivors:

If you did not watch last evening I urge you to view "Sixty Minutes" online and the particular segment they did interviewing Bill and Melinda Gates whose Foundation has helped MILLIONS in the poorest of poor nations all over the world. Their work has concentrated most especially in the fields of immunization (polio, HIV AIDS, and malaria), infant mortality and the education of children. They and their Foundation are an example to us all as the Gates impart to their own children values of service and not the endless acquisition of material goods. Most of their astounding wealth is being given away to help those who are sick, weak and who cannot help themselves. I wrote "Sixty Minutes" and the Gates Foundation asking that the children who have already contracted specifically polio, a disease which hit close to home, not be forgotten either
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I wrote the following:

The segment on "Sixty Minutes" about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was wonderful. I was particularly struck by their efforts at the immunization of children. The immunization against polio struck my heart as I am a polio survivor who contracted the deforming disease in 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The interview of Bill and Melinda Gates moved me to tears as I saw children who had contracted polio in the poorest of poor countries languishing in unsanitary hospitals with a bleak future ahead. It defies imagination as to those children’s difficult fate and makes me SO thankful for the care I was given at Children’s Hospital in Boston. I was lucky to have born here and I was lucky to have had parents who knew where to take me that fateful October day. They knew how to navigate a system put in place in large part through the March of Dimes established during the Roosevelt administration.

These children who contract this life-changing disease in third world nations do not have the good fortune as I did. With polio it is, of course, necessary to prevent the disease through vaccination BUT if a child is one of the unlucky to have contracted it there is the lasting orthopedic and other devastation that needs to be addressed. I, at that time, as a child, was constantly monitored until the age of 16. I needed all kinds of medical attention including casts, braces, crutches, corsets, orthopedic surgeries, xrays, skin temperature tests and physical therapy to make sure my paralyzed limb, bones and wasted muscles grew correctly. I even was given assistance by a social worker who helped me as a child with the difficult socio-psychological and later even the occupational consequences of polio. I have MUCH for which to be thankful. Proper care for those children who have contracted polio needs to be monitored at LEAST through teenage years. In adulthood, too, orthopedic appliances need to be reformed, updated, refitted and sometimes post-polio issues arise as they did for me.

I am writing to give my sincere thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates for their Herculean efforts and their marvelous good works. I ask, in particular, not to forget those children who have already contracted polio so that they can get the utterly NECESSARY but expensive orthopedic and assistive device care that they will need to deal with the many ramifications of polio. These children who have contracted polio like the ones who have been immunized against it must, too, not be forgotten. MUCH can be done and much assistance given to improve their condition so that they can function as normally as possible throughout their entire life.