When my father was 13, he was diagnosed with polio.
During the summer of 1949, my father attended a summer camp in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. While there, he broke his glasses and was taken to a nearby town to have them repaired. Two weeks after the trip, he fell ill with a high fever and stiff muscles. The camp doctor suspected polio was the diagnosis and transported my father directly to a hospital in his home state, New York.
Upon arrival to the hospital, my grandparents were told to prepare for the possibility that their son might die within 24 hours. As a parent myself, I have no idea how one “prepares” for such an eventuality, but the pain they must have suffered is unimaginable. He was only 13 years old.
A spinal tap confirmed the diagnosis of polio, although no one initially shared the news with him. At that time, there was no polio vaccine and no proven treatment.
My father was one of the lucky ones. He watched many of the polio patients around him die, and had friends who were crippled for life. Today, my children are lucky too. They have access to a vaccine to prevent this horrible fate.
As a practicing pediatrician, I have seen in this country that many people take vaccines for granted. And as a mother, I often think of the parents in developing countries who watch their children get sick of preventable illnesses, knowing that there is a good chance they will die. This is just not acceptable.
We need to ensure that no child has to suffer the crippling and potentially fatal effects of polio. We have an inexpensive solution. A $50 dollar donation can help vaccinate 50 children against polio. By donating $50 to Shot@Life, you can help reach the goal of vaccinating 40,000 children against polio by Halloween.
Today, on World Polio Day, please join me in sharing this simple solution for children around the world. Donate $50. Your money will help vaccinate 50 children and give them a shot at a healthy life.
Thank you for joining in this fight and investing in a healthy world.
Alanna Levine, MD, FAAP