Susan Ellis is one of a large contingent of NSW polio campaigners heading to Canberra on Wednesday 31 October 2012. As well as telling her local Member about the late effects of polio, how they affect her, and what services she and her fellow polio survivors need, Susan will also be presenting  Polio Australia’s Petition  to this Federal Parliamentarian.

Susan contracted polio at the age of 2 before going on to become a private radiology Practice Manager over a period of 40 years. During her 30’s, whilst bringing up her two young sons, she battled with the late effects of polio which resulted in her early retirement. Susan now serves on the Committee of Polio NSW as Seminar Coordinator and co-Editor of its Newsletter, Network News.

What is a memorable childhood experience?

When I contracted polio I suffered from isolation from my family for more than 10 months in terror and fear. I was subjected to six monthly checkups at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children in Camperdown along with more than fifty polio children in one session, but it was the leg lengthening surgery at age 12 that took away a year of my life that I remember being painful and traumatic. In particular, when the division of my tibia/fibular bones was incomplete and once the leg lengthening device was attached to my leg with long pins through the bones, instead of spreading the gap between the bones to lengthen my leg it actually bored holes into the skin on a daily basis over a period of two weeks causing extreme pain.

How have the late effects of polio impacted on you?

I had to retire early from work and now suffer from fatigue, joint pain and weakness, cold intolerance and disrupted sleep. I am unable to walk any length of time, and because of these symptoms I am constantly juggling pain medication to cope on a daily basis.

Why are you going to Canberra?

I am travelling to Canberra to support all those that have put in so much effort on behalf of polio survivors nationwide. We once fought to keep anonymous in our communities but now have a daily struggle to keep going. I am supporting the campaigners who are seeking financial support and recognition of the many needs of the polio survivors throughout Australia.

Which Member of Parliament are you meeting with?

The Hon Philip Ruddock MP
Member for Berowra, New South Wales
Shadow Cabinet Secretary
Party: Liberal Party of Australia
Chamber: House of Representatives

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

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