Minneapolis was a magnet for polio treatment in the 40s and 50s because of Sister Elizabeth Kenny and the Sister Kenny Institute. An estimated ten thousand polio survivors live in Minnesota.
"People remember if they had polio, but they might not know if they have post-polio syndrome," said Barbara Seizert, MD, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist with Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. "Polio survivors have the same life expectancy as everyone else, but they suffer more from problems that are often confused with getting older."
Seizert will be one of four speakers at a Courage Kenny education conference Friday, Oct. 2 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest. “Life after Polio: Realities and Practicalities” is full, but sponsors are concerned that their invitation list is missing thousands who could benefit.
The first patient admitted to the Sister Kenny Institute, 78-year-old Marvin Gale (pictured), a pediatrician who still practices in California, will be among the 300 attendees. As will younger survivors, who experienced polio more recently in foreign countries, have also registered.
The Courage Kenny event is supported by the Rotary Club District 5950. The Rotary Club has an international polio vaccination campaign. According to the organization, there were 300,000 cases of polio in the world in 1985, and now, there are fewer than 100 in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"When I started working at Sister Kenny Institute years ago, my mother asked me what we did there now that polio was eradicated, and I remember asking her, 'What’s polio?'" said Sandra Landberg, who coordinates the event for the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.
Landberg would like polio survivors to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-775-2592 to be added to the invitation list for possible future conferences.
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation
Institute, part of Allina Health, was created in 2013 by the merger of Courage
Center and Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. The Institute
provides a continuum of rehabilitation services for people with short- and
long-term conditions, injuries and disabilities in communities throughout
Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute has
multiple locations, and numerous
programs and services. For more information visit