Campaign Hero Ron Blackwell is travelling from South Australia and heading to Canberra on Wednesday 31 October 2012. Ron will be avocating for the service needs of polio survivors in his state and is encouraging everyone to put their names on  Polio Australia’s Petition  in support of his campaign.

Ron contracted polio as a child in 1948. The photographs below show Ron in 1949 (left) and in 1958 (right).

What is a memorable childhood experience?

I remember walking through the kitchen in 1948, aged 9, on the morning after a night of headache and vomiting. I stumbled and my father responded “pick your feet up, son”. However, from that point on my foot would always need careful lifting. Subsequently I have had to wear odd size shoes, sizes 6 and 9, and a support to raise my right foot. Three weeks after that morning it was confirmed that I had polio and I spent 18 – 20 months at the Somerton Crippled Children’s Home in Adelaide, nearly 300 kilometres from my home.

How have the late effects of polio impacted on you?

I now have to cope with the late effects of polio. I suffer from fatigue, difficulty with my good leg, suffering cramps and subsequently needing a new hip. I continue to live as normal a life as possible, but need far more sleep and rest.

Why are you going to Canberra?

I am going to Canberra to keep the polio problem to the fore, especially for those requiring mobility assistance, and keep the awareness of post polio in front of the Medical Services and the Government. Furthermore, I’m advocating for better education of medical practitioners to help them recognise the late effects of polio in people not originally diagnosed as sufferers.

Which Member of Parliament are you meeting with?

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Member for Sturt, South Australia
Manager of Opposition Business
Party: Liberal Party of Australia
Chamber: House of Representatives

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

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