Howard L. Aslinger Memorial Scholarship For Individuals with Disabilities
It’s not a Handicap, It’s an Inconvenience
Application Deadline: June 20th every year
In the early 1900s the United States was devoured by the deadly disease known as polio. This frightful disease spread faster and deadlier than anyone had expected. Polio, or more properly called poliomyelitis is a viral disease that spreads by direct person to person contact, by contact with infected mucus or phlegm from the nose or the mouth or by contact with infected feces.
Polio is not only a deadly disease but it is also painful involving a slow process by which the virus enters through the mouth and/or nose, then multiplies in the throat and intestinal tract, soon after the virus is absorbed and spread through the blood and the lymph system.
Only one in one hundred cases of poliomyelitis result in paralysis, among the paralyzed five to ten percent die when their breathing muscles become immobilized.
There are three strains of poliomyelitis: Type I Brunhilde, Type II Lansing, and Type III Leon. Most epidemics in the United States were the result of the most common of the three, which is Type I Brunhilde; it is also linked with the more severe paralytic symptoms.
It took Jonas Salk several years to develop a successful vaccine; however along with
several of his colleges he completed his task in 1955. Soon after, a man named Albert Sabin used Jonas Salk’s vaccine to create a new vaccine that could be taken orally. It replaced Salk’s vaccine in 1962.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt the thirty-second president of the United States contracted
polio at the age of thirty-nine which was considered old for a polio victim.
The March of Dimes was founded in 1938 as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis by Franklin Roosevelt to defeat polio.
There are roughly fifteen to twenty million survivors of the polio epidemics and outbreaks that have occurred, who lead very happy successful and productive lives. However, there is another complication of polio that can resurface, generally this happens approximately thirty years after the initial attack of the poliomyelitis virus, and this complication is called Post Polio Syndrome. To this date there are only a handful of doctors that know how to treat the pain of PPS; in some cases PPS could be worse than the actual polio virus itself. The most common symptoms of PPS include: disabling fatigue; muscle weakness; joint pain; cold intolerance, swallowing; sleep and breathing problems. It could also cause sensitivity to
anesthetic, resulting in needing only half the amount that is normally used and taking twice as long to recover.
Typically people with PPS are in quite a bit of pain from muscle and joint discomfort and will usually need twice the amount of a normal dose of pain medication. As PPS progresses the use of muscles deteriorates as well as your lung capacity, which means that breathing is done mostly through the diaphragm. When this occurs, the risk for lung infections increase and this also means that as muscle functions decrease the capability of being independent decreases.
Howard Aslinger contracted the disease in 1951 at the age of eleven. He used braces for a short while before being confined to a wheelchair. He did not let this stop him from living a happy successful life. He married and raised three daughters while working as an American Family Insurance agent for 32 years. He was active in several organizations: Jaycees; Soccer; and Rotary. He was also a member of Life Underwriters. Howard loved coaching and inspiring others. Howard never thought of himself as having a handicap, he thought of it as an inconvenience.
Please sign at the bottom of the page acknowledging that you have read this information. In 1988 we made a global effort to destroy polio this effort was led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Rotary International foundation. These organizations had completely eliminated polio in the Americas by the year 1994. As of 2008 there are only four countries in which polio remains a craze these countries are: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Until polio has been eliminated worldwide, it is important to continue vaccinating
people of all ages, mostly children between the ages of five and ten against polio.