Posted by Peter Roaf on Oct 08, 2019
Zosim Ettenbera was only six months old when she contracted polio. She managed to work her way past the crippling viral disease in her childhood and move on to a career in physiotherapy. Eventually she became Director of Rehabilitation Services at Langley Hospital. Her story, of battling not only polio, but later in life, cancer, is one of tremendous courage and determination, includes the recurrence of effects from her childhood affliction, with Post Polio Syndrome, which affects many adults decades later after what used to be called, "infantile paralysis (polio)" or poliomyelitis.
After knee surgery in 2001, Zosim became confined to a wheelchair -- with the onset of Post Polio Syndrome, usually occurring 30 to 40 years after the original viral attack. Despite this setback she continued with her career, for which her outstanding contributions were recognized with a Woman of Excellence Award in 2007, a Courage to Come Back award in 2008 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Her second service dog, Vanstone, joined her in 2017.
In 1952 Dave Morgan became the 10th person person in the Lower Mainland to contract polio. He came away almost fully healed and to this day has great mobility. Other than a few minor issues, as he describes them, he has managed to avoid Post Polio Syndrome. To support the cause, he has taken on the role of Chair for the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley Chapter of March of Dimes Polio Canada. Zosim is Vice-Chair of the same chapter.