Following her modelling of the #PolioPPSDress which created a stir on Twitter due to the fact it was made from 3,500 recycled train tickets, GB Paralympian and British Polio Fellowship Ambassador wrote a letter to newspaper editors outlining the important message behind the campaign as she seeks to raise awareness of the 120,000 PPS sufferers in the UK.
‘Pay attention to Polio’ says Anne Wafula-Strike MBE
When I was two years old I was struck down by Polio. I was fortunate; I survived the virus that has killed so many. There are around 120,000 Polio survivors living in Britain and I am proud to be counted as one of them. It really saddens me that all too often I hear people speak of Polio as being a ‘disease of the past’ in Britain when in fact there are many thousands of people, just like me, who are still living with the devastating effects of the virus. For that reason I teamed up with The British Polio Fellowship, and am honoured to be their Ambassador, raising awareness about the often unspoken, hidden plight of the UK’s Polio survivors.
Your readers may have seen me unveiling an amazing dress, specifically designed to accommodate a wheelchair. It was designed by a great British fashion designer, Aleah Leigh, out of 3500 recycled train tickets to help illustrate that something forgotten can once again not only capture people’s attention – but can have a true, valuable purpose in ways people had not imagined. Just like Polio survivors.
I want Polio to capture people’s attention again. The effects of the virus still affects people in the UK and for many of them, life is about to get a whole lot harder. Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) will affect 80% of polio survivors; it makes limbs more painful and mobility even more difficult. We are in great need of your support and attention. So please don’t ignore us; ask your readers to google The British Polio Fellowship and discover the fantastic work they do, and consider supporting the charity. (Our campaign hashtag is #polioppsdress).
Anne Wafula-Strike, MBE.
Ambassador, The British Polio Fellowship