Posted on Thursday September 3, 2015
Find A Way
Friendly Wheels, Issue 101
With Amigo owner Tim Brown of the Michigan Polio Network
For the past 20 years, Tim Brown has witnessed the growing impact of the Michigan Polio Network (MPN).
Since its inception in 1985, the MPN has helped countless polio survivors better understand and live with post-polio syndrome (PPS), a condition reflecting the late effects of polio on polio survivors. As a polio survivor himself, Tim now dedicates many of his retirement hours to volunteer efforts with the organization.
“I’ve been involved with the MPN for 20 years now, first simply as a member and later on the board of directors. It’s given me the opportunity to utilize the skills and experiences I’ve learned over my lifetime,” Tim said. From a young age, Tim’s experiences managing the effects of polio have helped him become a supporter and advocate for others.
Tim was diagnosed with polio at age five, which resulted in paralysis and eventually led to him learning to walk again. Through therapy, treatment and hard work, he regained most of the abilities lost to polio but still faced minor physical limitations along the way. He used his early battle with polio as motivation to never let these limitations stop him. “As did most polio survivors, I always managed to find a way to get it done,” Tim recalls.
After living his life with the belief that he had overcome polio, Tim started exhibiting symptoms of post-polio syndrome (PPS) in his mid-40’s that again affected his mobility. Similar to many who were beginning to experience PPS, Tim did not understand what was happening to him.
“Back in the day, we didn’t have the internet to quickly look up information on the effects of polio,” Tim said. Fortunately he was able to gather the information he needed by reaching out to the MPN, which had been founded several years before his PPS symptoms appeared. Tim then became a member and has been involved ever since.
Today the MPN serves nearly 600 members, not only in Michigan but also across the country, as some of its members have relocated. As of today, Tim holds positions as the Michigan Polio Network’s vice chairman and treasurer.
Tim also joins four others as a co-facilitator of the Southeast Michigan Post-Polio Support Group, which holds monthly meetings in Troy for polio survivors and interested parties. The group provides information on polio and PPS, and typically features guest speakers, including mobility specialists from Amigo. “What I enjoy the most about the MPN is the opportunity to help other polio survivors enhance their lifestyle and manage their limitations,” Tim said.
The network has also recently begun a community partnership with the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) to increase awareness of polio and PPS among medical students. “A large issue today is that many doctors and health service providers don’t know much about polio,” Tim said. “This partnership with OUWB will give us an opportunity to spread awareness of post-polio issues among the medical community.”
We are very grateful to have Tim in the Amigo family and we admire his passion to increase polio awareness! If you are interested in learning more about the Michigan Polio Network, click here.