9/19/2014

The fund is named in honor of Dr. Carlos Vallbona, one of the world’s foremost authorities on post-polio,

Texas Polio Survivors’ Association Makes Contribution to Assist Polio Patients at TIRR Memorial Hermann


HOUSTON - The Texas Polio Survivors’ Association will present an $80,000 check to the Memorial Hermann Foundation at a special recognition event at TIRR Memorial Hermann on Monday, April 28, 2:30 p.m. in the second floor conference room in the new Rehabilitation Research Center. The contribution will establish a fund to benefit polio patients.
The fund, named in honor of Dr. Carlos Vallbona and in memory of Nita Weil, will provide assistance to polio patients treated at TIRR Memorial Hermann in need of financial aid for essential items such as medication and equipment. Additional purposes will include support for continuing education and training for staff working with polio patients and others with mobility challenges.
Dr. Vallbona, retired consulting physician at TIRR Memorial Hermann who specialized in the management of post-polio syndrome, has been called one of the world’s foremost authorities on post-polio. He served as director of TIRR Memorial Hermann’s outpatient polio clinic, one of the few in the country that provides state-of-the-art care for patients who live daily with the effects of post-polio syndrome.
Nita Weil was a polio survivor who dedicated her life to helping the disabled. She volunteered at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research for 43 years and served as director of volunteers. Weil co-founded the Texas Polio Survivors’ Association in 1984. She died in 2005 and is remembered for her tireless efforts on behalf of polio survivors and the disabled.
“We are pleased to make this donation to benefit polio patients in need of assistance,” said Rocky McAshan, president of the Texas Polio Survivors’ Association. “Through the Vallbona/Weil Fund, countless lives will be touched.”
“We are deeply grateful to the Texas Polio Survivors’ Association for this very special gift and honored to recognize the dedication and commitment of Dr. Vallbona and Nita Weil through this named fund,” said Carl Josehart, chief executive officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann.
For years, polio was one of the most feared diseases in America, responsible for crippling paralysis and death. In 1952, it reached its peak in the United States with more than 21,000 paralytic cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jonas Salk introduced the polio vaccine in 1955, stopping the spread of the disease and eventually eradicating it in the United States.
Nearly 1.63 million polio survivors live in the United States today; the U.S. Public Health Service estimates 140,000 survivors of the 1940 and 1950 epidemics live in Texas. It is unknown how many younger survivors contracted polio in South America and Mexico, and have immigrated to Texas. This means there are 50,000 survivors for every 8 million Americans.
More than 300,000 of the country's' polio survivors may be at risk of post-polio syndrome, which is marked by muscle weakness, pain, fatigue, breathing problems, and decreased tolerance of cold temperatures; symptoms that appear 10 to 40 years after the initial illness. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that Post Polio Syndrome affects between 25 and 50 percent of these survivors.

About TIRR Memorial Hermann
Recognized among the leading rehabilitation hospitals in the country, TIRR Memorial Hermann is a valued resource for the Greater Houston community and beyond, serving as a model for interdisciplinary rehabilitation services, patient care, education and research. For 24 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named TIRR Memorial Hermann to the list of “America’s Best Hospitals”—every year since the list was created. In 2013, it was ranked number “3” on the list of top rehabilitation hospitals.

Texas Polio Survivors’ Association Makes Contribution to Assist Polio Patients at TIRR Memorial Hermann

The fund is named in honor of Dr. Carlos Vallbona, one of the world’s foremost authorities on post-polio, and in memory of Nita Weil, a polio survivor who dedicated her life to helping the disabled.


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