Tina Demetri 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, Tina will also be presenting  Polio Australia’s Petition  to this Federal Parliamentarian.

Tina contracted polio at 20 months old in England.

What is a memorable childhood experience?

Having contracted polio before I was 2 years old I spent the next 18 months in an iron lung which breathed for me until after much physio my little body could manage by itself. Years later, after 15 bouts of reconstructive surgery, it was considered I was as good as I was going to get.

How have the late effects of polio impacted on you?

Fast foward 20 years – now married with 2 precious children (which they said I should not try to have!), now both married. Not long after the birth of our first grandchild life changed. Almost over night I went from being able and energetic to what my husband terms (being a horsie man) “breaking down”. I now live with constant pain and overwhelming fatigue (I hit the “polio wall” daily), which plays havoc with normal life. At the ripe old age of 48 I began using a motorised wheelchair, without which I would be totally house-bound and life would be almost intolerable — thank you chair! One of the hardest adjustments was the need for Ed (my husband) to retire, completely changing our lives again; socially and economically it was a huge adjustment for him (us).

Why are you going to Canberra?

Why are we going to Canberra you ask? Polio survivors need your help. We need governments to assist with funding and support services. We have rarely asked for help. We are now. We need to be heard. We are hoping to meet Luke Hartsuyker our local member for Cowper, he generously gave us time recently at his home office which we appreciated.

Which Member of Parliament are you meeting with?

Mr Luke Hartsuyker MP
Member for Cowper, New South Wales
Party: The Nationals
Chamber: House of Representatives

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