Barbara has always been an outgoing and active person. So at the age of 11, she began to notice the differences between herself and the children around her. There were things that she couldn’t be a part of, “I couldn’t take part in hockey even though I loved it, because of the calliper. I pushed myself to do as much physical activity as I could, but some things were just a no-no”.

Polio affected many children during the 1950s, and how or why you caught it wasn’t always clear to families and friends at the time. “My brother was with us on holiday, but he didn’t get polio”, added Barbara.

“There was a time where my mother and I went shopping, and upon entering I saw a model of a young girl with callipers, collecting funds. I didn’t understand, and pointed to my mother that there was a model of me outside the shop. I didn’t understand why.”

The difficulty of dealing with such a disease at a young age was accentuated because people didn’t know how to deal with disabilities back then.

As a result, Barbara found relief and enjoyment in reading and became very scholastic, buried in her books for hours on end. “I let myself get lost in fantasy,” she explained, “it helped me a lot in dealing with the effects of polio as I was growing up in my childhood”.

But as she grew older, signs of post-polio syndrome began to surface and Barbara found this to be the most difficult and challenging time. She grew wanting to be more independent, and refusing help from others.

Her advice to those who are suffering from PPS is to get as much information as possible. “Learn the triggers, rest when you need to and don’t push yourself past your limits too hard”. But most importantly, Barbara’s message to polio sufferers is to ‘not let it stand in your way. You can either sit on the side lines, or you can live your life as much as you can”.

Eradicating polio forever is close to Barbara’s heart, “I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. If someone out there is still suffering from polio, it will always be a risk. The only acceptable outcome is to eradicate it once and for all”.