British Polio Month (July-August 2013) got off to a flying start on Sunday 7 July, as stars and celebrities gathered in London to help Team Splash raise money for The British Polio Fellowship; while also marking the launch of a Medical Alert Card designed to ensure medical professionals are aware that a patient carrying the card is experiencing late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).
QVC presenter Julia Roberts teamed up with celebrities and Team GB Paralympian heroes past and present at Trinity School, as ‘Team Splash’ raised money for the charity. Fellow Polio athletes Anne Wafula Strike (Harlow based wheelchair racer and torch bearer) and James Crisp (London 2012 silver 100 metres swimming backstroke) met John Watts, the GB 100m silver medallist from the 1968 Tel Aviv Games, as the trio joined forces to launch the Medical Alert Card. The launch marks the start of a month of activities raising awareness of those with Polio and PPS in the UK.
“Team Splash was a great way to highlight the start of British Polio Month,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “We would like to thank everyone who took part and in particular James Crisp, Anne Wafula Strike and John Watts for lending their support to this first event in our promotional calendar, while ensuring the Medical Alert Card received an Olympic launch.”
Over 120,000 people are still living with Polio and PPS in the UK. The likes of Anne, James, John and Julia show that Polio and PPS remain big issues in the UK and that it is far from yesterday’s problem. Polio, PPS and the legacy of medical problems they cause are still very much with us.
This new Medical Alert card will support those experiencing late effects of Polio and Post Polio Syndrome PPS). Carrying the card will immediately make those medical professionals in attendance aware not only that you have Polio & PPS, but of the need to discuss any treatment with you, your family, carers and where possible, your regular practitioners.
The medical profession can also take advantage of an online PPS resource tools launched by the British Polio Fellowship and Map of Medicine Healthguides. The guides can be accessed via NHS choices. There are patient pathways for diagnosis and management of PPS:
Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) – Suspected:http://healthguides.mapofmedicine.com/choices/map/post_polio_syndrome_pps_1.html
Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) – Rehabilitation and Management:http://healthguides.mapofmedicine.com/choices/map/post_polio_syndrome_pps_2.html
The British Polio Fellowship is continually working to raise awareness amongst the medical community, from developing PPS care pathways for the Map of Medicine, to the information packs available to health care professionals. British Polio Month is concerned with raising awareness not only of Polio and PPS but in making all health professionals aware of these online tools for help in making a correct diagnosis; with help from the Paralympian heroes of Team GB.
“It was fantastic to meet and congratulate James and Anne in person on their achievements and join them in launching British Polio Month,” said John Watts. “James, Anne and I all know what it is like to live with Polio and their achievements will I am sure inspire a whole new generation, while the Medical Alert card means those of us who need some extra help are not forgotten.”
Jon contracted Polio in 1955 when he was just six years old. He was spotted swimming by a local coach in 1960 who swiftly recognised his potential, which led John to his silver medal triumph in the 100 metres Freestyle in Tel Aviv. Anne Wafula Strike and Julia Roberts are also people who have triumphed over Polio, but John naturally sees parallels between himself and James Crisp, since both are 100m swimming specialists, albeit separated by 44 years. In that time a lot of water has passed under the bridge in terms of treatment for Polio and the recognition of PPS and the launch of the Medical Card in British Polio Month is helping to ensure this recognition and awareness continues to gather pace.
The Medical Alert Card will be included free in every edition of Bulletin, the bi-monthly members’ magazine of The British Polio Fellowship, while further copies of the card can be requested from the charity. Team Splash was the first of several events planned for British Polio Month. Details on further events will be announced throughout July and August. For more details, The British Polio Fellowship can be contacted free on 0800 043 1935 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk