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Polio
JoAnn West

JoAnn West was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with polio.

For almost a year, JoAnn went to Children’s Hospital for polio treatments. She doesn’t have many memories of her time at Children’s, but she does remember the bus rides back and forth. Her mother didn’t drive, so they took the bus from their home in Huntsville to Children’s Hospital. After almost of year of traveling from Huntsville to Birmingham, Children’s set up treatments for her in Huntsville and she was able to begin receiving treatments there.

She said it may have been six months to a year before she started going to Huntsville. “I really can’t remember how long I went to Children’s,” JoAnn said. “But it seemed like a long time because I was a child.”

She credits her recovery to her mother and the staff at Children’s. The staff made sure her mother knew what to do to take care of her. She remembers her mother pulling her into her lap and massaging her legs like doctors at Children’s told her to.

JoAnn was lucky and her case of polio wasn’t as serious as others. She had scoliosis and wore a brace. She remembers being very small and not being able to walk far. Today, JoAnn’s biggest ailment is arthritis.
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