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Club Meeting - Witness to Polio

Some people’s answer to a challenging situation or to something that has never been tried before is a resounding “You can’t do that”. 

Last week we had our End Polio week at Livonia AM Rotary. Our club hosted two people who have intimate knowledge of this dreaded disease, Bill Joiner, the voice of Livonia through his Friday Musings blogs, and our own member, Nancy Darga. Bill’s story regarding Polio is centered around his mother, who was a Polio survivor. Nancy herself is a Polio survivor.

Bill’s mother raised a family and spent twelve years on the Livonia School Board of Education. Bill recalls his mom explaining to her children the physical pain of living with Polio. But it was not an everyday topic of discussion in their home.

Nancy, an architect, was the chief designer for Wayne County Parks and Recreation Department before she retired. She also spent twelve years on the Northville City Council. Nancy was three years old when she was diagnosed with Polio. She shared the story of painful operations on her legs so she could regain her ability to walk. Many neighborhood parents wouldn’t let their children play with Nancy out of fear of that Polio could be transmitted through Nancy to their children.

Both Nancy and Bill’s mothers did not let the disease of Polio define them. They defined what was possible for Polio victims to accomplish. To those who said to them, “you can’t do that, you had Polio” they probably replied, “step out of my way and watch me”.

Hearing both the sad story of the extreme pain that Polio can cause to those who get this disease, and the inspiring story of overcoming obstacles to reach a goal was an exceptional way to begin our “End Polio Week” for our Rotary club.

Mike Ladwig


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Rotary Club of Livonia AM

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Livonia, MI 48154

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