COVID-19 is often compared to the 1918 influenza epidemic, but these are not the only infectious diseases that have wreaked havoc around the world in the last century.
World Polio Day will be celebrated on Sunday, October 24, where people will remember another vicious virus that paralyzed thousands of Canadians before it was stopped.
One of the victims is now living in the Campbell River.
Beverly Gul was two years old when she contracted polio, known as “infantile paralysis” or “disability.” He contracted a nerve-damaging virus in both his legs and his right arm, which resulted in Gul spending most of his childhood in hospital.
There is no cure or cure for this disease.
“You just had to deal with the aftermath,” Gul said. “I’ve been on crutches all my life.”
The Jonas Salik vaccine, which can prevent the first infection, was not available until about five years after Gul was already infected.
Despite his many challenges, he did the best he could in his life.
“Fortunately I’m a very stubborn person,” he said, referring to his Scottish heritage. “So I went and did everything that everyone does to the best of their ability.
“I went to university, I got married, I had a child, I traveled, and I worked. I basically lived.”
Gul has eradicated polio worldwide since his agreement in the early 1950s. Children are vaccinated four times as a child with the vaccine, and receive a booster shot between the ages of four and six.
Decades of pushing for awareness in the fight against the disease have resulted in a 99.9 percent drop in polio cases globally.
Gul noted that he wanted the same awareness to be found in the fight against COVID-19. He said it was difficult for them to understand the people who refused the existing vaccines.
“It makes me angry, frustrated and sad,” he said.
“I want to talk to some of them, and tell them about some of my experiences because they can condemn themselves to the same situation – no one knows the aftermath (COVID-19). What is going to happen
“It seems that misinformation is at the root of the denial,” Gul said.
“For some reason, people don’t trust science, or medical experts,” he said. “They want to see social media and see it as good news.”