Ksenia Solo is a polio eradication advocate and a beautiful actress best known for portraying Tasha on "Life Unexpected" and Kenzi on "Lost Girl." Now the 25-year-old actress will produce and star in a feature film based on "Too Early for Flowers: The Story of a Polio Mother," written by author Kurt Sipolski.
Says Sipolski, "Any accomplishments I have had I owe to the courage and dedication of my young mother, Iris." Sipolski's mother was a widow raising two boys on her own. Sipolski contracted polio in 1948 at the age of 2. "My mother raised me to be brave, to work through the pain," said Kurt. "No pity was ever shown to me. There was concern shown, but I was expected to mow the lawn."
After surviving polio, Sipolski went on to lead a successful life. He earned a degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University. After writing to Rupert Murdoch in Sydney, Australia, in 1968, and inquiring about a job and getting hired for that job, his life took him across the world: managing a cafe in Paris, starting "Gentry" magazine in San Francisco and then successfully selling it, traveling to places like South America, Africa and Siberia. After Sipolski's mother raised him and he became an adult, he found himself taking care of his mother and giving her strength after she suffered a stroke.
Wrote Ksenia for The Huffington Post, "About a year ago, I learned about another extraordinary woman: Iris Sipolski, a mother who gave up her dreams to fight for her son Kurt's life as he suffered through the agony of polio in the 1940s. Through Kurt's book, 'Too Early for Flowers: The Story of a Polio Mother,' I learned about a time when this horrifying disease was killing thousands of children. I immediately felt the need to take a stand and help spread awareness among my generation which, like me, has little knowledge about this devastating disease."
World Polio Day, an excellent day to learn about polio, is October 24, 2013. Web MD describes polio as "an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract." The disease was once the "leading cause of disability" in the United States. However, the polio vaccine, introduced in 1955, eliminated the disease in America.
What is one reason why polio eradication is so important for Americans? Web MD reports, "The disease is still common in some developing countries and until it is eradicated worldwide, the risk of it spreading to the U.S. still exists."
Says Ksenia Solo on polio eradication, "It was amazing to see that there were only 223 cases last year, compared to an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988. Today, polio mainly exists in just a few final reservoirs in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan." The world is closer than ever to eliminating polio.
Are you involved in the cause of polio eradication? Please leave a comment below.
©Jolie du Pre 2013
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