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Meet The Woman Fighting To Eradicate The Disease That Injured Her As A Baby

6:15pm, Sat 21 May 2016
When we think of people who have been injured by polio, it's easy to conjure examples from a bygone era like Franklin D. Roosevelt or  black-and-white images of children in iron lungs. Though the polio vaccine, introduced in 1953, has nearly driven the disease to eradication, it isn't gone yet. And there are still people who are being harmed by polio today.

Meet Minda Dentler: an international advocate for polio eradication through the use of vaccines. Her work is personal. She was injured by the disease during infancy in India before she was adopted by her American parents. She survived, but polio took away her ability to walk. Her disability has brought her plenty of adversity in life, but she always finds the strength to overcome each challenge.

Minda wasn't an athlete as a child, instead preferring to play games with her siblings and play piano. That changed 10 years ago when she got involved with Achilles International, an organization that makes athletic competitions accessible to people with disabilities.

She first began racing using a handcycle. She then set her sights on competing in a triathlon, but there was one problem: she didn't know how to swim. It was a considerable challenge, but she learned. Overcoming that obstacle allowed her to take on the challenge of competing against others, and she has now competed in several events in the US and even in Europe.

The perseverance that serves her so well in training for triathlons is the same passion and commitment she brings to raising awareness about polio eradication.

Though she had long been familiar with Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate polio, she officially became a survivor ambassador in 2014, leading her to do numerous speaking engagements in the US and then travel to India to administer the vaccine. There’s a certain level of poetry in that, as she was able to personally give children the drops, ensuring that they would never contract the disease that paralyzed her when she was their age.

During this trip, she also visited patients in the polio ward at St. Stephen’s Hospital in Delhi. It was there that she met a survivor named Parveen who made Minda understand some key truths about her own life
Meet The Woman Fighting To Eradicate The Disease That Injured Her As A Baby
Meet The Woman Fighting To Eradicate The Disease That Injured Her As A Baby 

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