Polio Australia is calling all polio survivors to join us in Canberra on Wednesday 31st October 2012 at the culmination of the National Polio Awareness Month’s “We’re Still Here!” campaign.

We have been delighted with the response from polio survivors across Australia. Click here to read why a number of our Campaign Heroes have taken up the challenge to travel to Canberra.

To mark the occasion, Polio Australia aims to launch a new learning resource for healthcare professionals, which is being developed in collaboration with volunteers from GlaxoSmithKline’s Medical team through their corporate volunteering program. This overview of the late effects of polio is also being reviewed by Polio Australia’s multidisciplinary Clinical Advisory Group, and is intended to be the first in a series of Clinical Practice Modules for managing various aspects of the late effects.

We ask everyone coming to Canberra to contact your local Federal Member of Parliament to make a 20 minute appointment with him/her in the morning to discuss the need for appropriate clinical services for polio survivors in your area and/or across Australia. Everyone has a personal experience to relate (see “Medical Misadventure” in the June 2012 edition of Polio Oz News). We also recommend you copy and leave with your MP this one page (double sided) Handout which highlights the issues identified at the Roundtable Forum on the Late Effects of Polio held in March, and detailed in the resulting Health and Ageing Committee Discussion Paper.

The order of the day will be:

  9:30 amArrive at Parliament House - Wear Orange !
10:00 amMedia and/or Photo* opportunity
10:30 amLaunch by The Hon Catherine King MP (Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing) of the
“Introduction to the Late Effects of Polio - Clinical Practice Module”
with the post polio community, Parliamentary Patrons and Parliamentary Friends of Polio Survivors
11:30 amIndividual appointments with local Members of Parliament and presentation of  Polio Australia's Petition
12:30 pmPolio Survivors and Parliamentary Patrons Lunch in the Members and Guests Dining Room, Parliament House
  2:00 pmQuestion Time
  3:30 pmDepart to own activities

*A suggestion for a group photo is to bring along one of your first braces (if you still have it), or a photograph of you when you got polio, to indicate that the post polio community still require adequate services “because children grow up”!

What to do if you want to join us:

If you are a member of one of the state-based Polio Networks, please contact their office to advise your intention and have it recorded. They will keep you advised about the day’s program and any state-based group arrangements.

If you are not a member of a Network, please email Mary-ann Liethof or phone 03 9016 7678.

Note: As Polio Australia only receives irregular philanthropic ‘project’ funding, we are unable to assist with travel or accommodation. However, we do know that Rotary and Lions Clubs can be quite generous to members in their local communities when approached directly.

Unless your state’s Polio Network makes specific arrangements for its members, accommodation and transport will need to be organised by you. Check here for options.

We all know that there is strength in numbers, and this day will be an opportunity to stand/sit up and be counted. If Polio Australia is to achieve its Mission to “standardise quality polio information and service provision across Australia for polio survivors”, we depend on your support.

Denton Trieu

Denton has recently joined the hard-working team at Polio Australia. He is currently in his final year of study at Monash University, completing a Bachelor of Business (Marketing).

Denton is volunteering for Polio Australia, taking care of the “We’re Still Here!” campaign, which will culminate with a rally at Parliament House in Canberra on 31st October 2012 at the end of Polio Awareness Month. With the help of Mary-Ann and the team, Denton is working on this project to bring greater awareness of the late effects of polio to the Australian community.

Wear Orange for World Polio Day each year which falls on or near the birthdate of Jonas Salk (28 October)

World Polio Day aims to increase awareness about polio virus and to encourage further actions to reduce it from spreading. The commemoration of the day also highlights the success of global strategies in reducing the spread of the disease.

However, it is also a time for us to reflect on those people who contracted polio during the epidemics and are now living with the late effects of polio. For many tens of thousands of Australians, polio’s reprise is a cruel twist of fate that impacts on all aspects of their daily lives. Currently, there is no Federal Government funding for polio survivors.

Each year during Polio Awareness Month Polio Australia particularly marks World Polio Day as significant for those people who were not able to avoid polio. So why not “Wear Orange on World Polio Day” and show your true colours! Tell your family and friends to wear something Orange (scarf, t-shirt, socks, flower, anything!), take a photo and help us commemorate the polio ‘survivor’ by uploading your own Orange photos here.

You can also make a donation to Polio Australia to help us to not only spread the word about the late effects of polio but to provide services for polio survivors, their families and carers.

Polio Awareness Months – 2011 and earlier