We’re Still Here! 2020 – First Runner-up

John Nanni, Middletown, Delaware

I am a polio survivor from the Class of 1953 (just months before the major Salk trial) at the age of 10 months old. I was paralyzed from my neck down for six months. My mom did Sister Kenny's physical therapy on me. I walked a year later and played baseball, basketball and football in high school.

In 1992, I was diagnosed with severe post-polio syndrome. I now use a wheelchair for most of my mobility needs. However, there is very little I can't do, I just need to find a different way of doing it.

As Rotary District PolioPlus Chair, Board Member of the Polio Network of NJ/DE and Delaware State Architectural Accessibility Board Member, I have been keeping VERY busy during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Since early March, I have given over 30 Zoom polio talks - "The 3 P's in My Life - Polio, Post-Polio Syndrome and Rotary's PolioPlus" - to Rotary Clubs and Districts throughout the world, including England, Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria, Hawaii and throughout the United States - Zoom "trips" that I would never be able to make in my wheelchair in such a short time.

I also coordinated a major food distribution of rice. As the Rise Against Hunger Rotary Ambassador, I found donors to purchase pallets of rice that were distributed to Food Banks and Food Kitchens throughout the Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania region. We were able to move over 15 tons of rice.