Fran Henke is one of a strong contingent of Victorian polio campaigners heading to Canberra on Wednesday 31 October 2012. As well as telling two local Members about the late effects of polio, how they affect her, and what services she and her fellow polio survivors need, Fran will also be presenting  Polio Australia’s Petition  to these Federal Parliamentarians.

Fran contracted polio at the age of three. She went on to become a journalist, author and artist. However, since her late 40’s Fran has been battling against the late effects of polio, forcing her into part time work. She decided to use her communication skills to advocate on behalf of Australia’s polio survivors, also linking those with polio in less fortunate countries through a Facebook page ‘Post Polio Universal’.

What is a memorable childhood experience?

I have no memory of my childhood apart from what my Mum told me. I do know that I was treated from 1946 (aged 3) by Dame Jean Macnamara.

How have the late effects of polio impacted on you?

I was originally in denial about the existence of the late effects of polio, but now after suffering from those effects I have started to campaign for the urgently needed funding for polio survivors’ health services. To my shock the late effects of polio have resulted in me needing to use a scooter and brace.

Why are you going to Canberra?

I am going to Canberra to remind MPs and anyone who will listen that “We’re Still Here!”. I want no other child to go through what we did. The global polio ‘eradication’ programs have been picked up by the Australian Government yet it won’t fund services for Australia’s own polio survivors.

Which Members of Parliament are you meeting with?

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Patron of Polio Australia
Member for Flinders, Victoria
Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage
Party: Liberal Party of Australia
Chamber: House of Representatives

The Hon Bruce Billson MP
Member for Dunkley, Victoria
Shadow Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs
Party: Liberal Party of Australia
Chamber: House of Representatives

Support Fran and the “We’re Still Here!” campaign by sending her a message here.

Return to  “We’re Still Here!” Campaign Heroes