Polio survivor, PPS sufferer and key member of The British Polio Fellowship, Bryan Rowley, wrote this letter to news editors as part of the charities Winter Warmth Appeal.
I am one of the 120,000 Polio survivors living in the UK with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) who dread the onset of winter. The devastating late effects of Polio and PPS make coping with the cold exceptionally difficult. Wasted limbs, paralysis and poor circulation allow the cold to creep into muscles and joints and make any form of movement extremely painful and for many; the cost of heating their homes is a real dilemma.
New chairman of the Trustees Bryan Rowley who launched this year’s Winter Warmth Campaign
The only meaningful respite those with Polio have is to turn on the heating and yet it is a tragic fact that many are left to suffer because they can’t afford it. Yet the assistance offered by the government is frankly pitiful. The winter fuel allowance gives £200 to people over 62 and £300 to over 80s towards heating bills. I believe it to be a scandal that no further provision is made for older people with severe disabilities. In the winter months my heating bills are 30-40% higher than a non-Polio survivor and yet despite the additional need, no extra help is available from the government. I believe that more needs to be done, particularly for those below retirement age who receive nothing.
The British Polio Fellowship’s Winter Warmth campaign assists Polio survivors with the cost of keeping warm, and I am proud to have been asked to launch the 2014/15 appeal. With the help of the great British public, we aim to raise £30,000 to reduce the shortfall in heating bills, allowing people to stay warm without worrying about the cost. We cannot allow a situation to continue where people choose between eating and heating.
To help, simply call 0800 043 1935 or visit the charity’s website at www.britishpolio.org.uk and click ‘donate. This issue has been ignored by successive governments and it falls to charities like The British Polio Fellowship to pick up the slack. You have no idea what a difference this will make to some terribly cold and vulnerable Polio survivors.