Ramesh Ferris is a 36-year-old polio survivor who was born in Coimbatore, India. At the age of six months he contracted polio and his legs were paralyzed for life. At the age of one Ramesh’s birth mother Lakshmi, unable to care for him, placed him in an orphanage. After a lengthy adoption process at Ramesh was adopted by the Anglican Bishop of Yukon, Canada and in 1982 became the first International Adoptee in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

After his adoption he received corrective surgeries at the Vancouver Children’s Hospital and at age three walked for the first time with assistance of braces and a walker. Later at the age of four he was able to walk with braces and two crutches.

Ramesh grew up having many opportunities like any other Canadian child would have. He went to school, played and focused on his abilities not his inabilities.

In 2002, Ramesh returned to India for the first time. Ramesh was able to visit the orphanage that he was adopted from, and even met with his birth mother Lakshmi again.

It was during this time Ramesh got a glimpse into what his life could have been if he wasn’t adopted. In India Ramesh witnessed polio survivors who didn’t have access to corrective surgeries and rehabilitative supports, such as braces and crutches, crawling on the streets. These polio survivors were instead using cut up pieces of tire tread, to pad their knees, and sandals, which they placed on their hands, all just to be able to move around.

Motivated by what he’d seen Ramesh returned to Canada and vowed to make a difference in the lives of polio survivors and ensure the poliovirus did not claim new victims.

In 2008 Ramesh hand-cycled 7140kms across Canada from Victoria, BC to Cape Spear, Newfoundland & Labrador in a polio campaign he called Cycle to Walk. Through this campaign Ramesh raised $300,000 for Polio Eradication, Education, and Rehabilitation.

Since Cycle to Walk, Ramesh has become a global advocate in the fight against polio. Ramesh has travelled the globe advocating including visits to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. He has partnered with organizations including the Global Poverty Project, Global Citizen, Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation all to encourage global citizens, and world leaders to continue to support our end of polio efforts.

Ramesh has given hundreds of speeches to students about the importance of both respecting each other, and supporting vaccines. He has met with countless leaders including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Education Right Activist Malala Yousafzai, Bill and Melinda Gates all to gain more support to end polio. He has met Australian Prime Ministers Rudd, Gillard, and Turnbull and he has met with hundreds of polio survivor’s worldwide.

Ramesh wants us all to join him in making One Last Push to end polio for good.