Educating Canadians about a forgotten disease

    TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - The dearth of post-polio clinics in Canada is
leaving thousands of polio survivors with few treatment options for their
specific condition.
    Little understood by most doctors, in the 1980's medical researchers
confirmed that many survivors of polio would develop post-polio syndrome (PPS)
later in life, a condition with symptoms that include weakness, fatigue,
breathing and swallowing problems and muscle atrophy. In fact, it is estimated
that up to 50 to 70 percent of polio survivors may experience the disabling
effects of post-polio syndrome 25 to 45 years after their initial recovery
from polio. There are approximately 125,000 Canadian polio survivors.
    Many polio survivors have a difficult time accessing a physiatrist, a
physician specializing in non-surgical management and treatment of injuries
and diseases of the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular system, with experience
treating PPS. There are less formalized clinics in hospitals, such as the
Ottawa Hospital where there are a number of physiatrists who treat polio
survivors, but only one formal post-polio clinic in all of Canada - at the
Montreal Neurological Hospital.
    "At Polio Canada, we provide the information to help polio survivors
access proper care for post-polio syndrome and we receive an average of
15 calls per month from polio survivors looking for support," says Sheila
Casemore, Manager of Polio Canada.
    "We have on-line support groups where polio survivors share information
with each other but are always looking at new ways of serving polio
survivors," she continues.
    Polio Canada and hundreds of local volunteers across the country are
working to raise awareness of the late effects of polio and post-polio
syndrome. With March designated as Polio Awareness Month, Polio Canada has
increased its efforts to educate the public about post-polio syndrome and
archive the stories of polio survivors across Canada and ensure they are not
forgotten to time. The organization is dedicated to preserving the memories of
polio survivors, their families and those that cared for them, and will be
posting the stories on its website ( and in its
    If you or someone you know would like to share your polio story, please
call 1-800-480-5903 or e-mail

    Polio Canada(R), a program of March of Dimes Canada, is the leading
service provider of education, information and peer support to polio survivors
across Canada.

    March of Dimes Canada is a nationally registered charitable organization
providing support services to people with disabilities, their families and
caregivers across Canada. For more information, please call 1-800-263-3463 or
visit the website at

For further information:

For further information: Ruth Kapelus, Public Relations Coordinator,
March of Dimes Canada, 10 Overlea Blvd., Toronto, ON, M4H 1A4, Phone: (416)
425-3463 ext. 7254, Toll Free: 1-800-263-3463 ext. 7254,,

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