There was an outbreak of Polio when I was five-years-old

“There was an outbreak of Polio when I was five-years-old. There wasn’t any vaccination at the time, especially not in east Clare where I was from. That part of Ireland was a very remote place back then. There weren’t any hospitals either and people were afraid because they thought Polio was like Ebola. My parents were basically forced to send me away. I had to come up to Dublin and spend two years in a hospital. I know now that it was completely needless because the infection lasted only about two to three weeks but it stopped the proper growth of the muscles in my right leg forever. Those two years up in Dublin completely changed me, getting separated from my parents and being institutionalised at such a young age caused me a lot of troubles mentally and physically. But my dad was a wonderful man… he never gave up on me. He bought a car and he drove up to Dublin whenever he could. That time, it took an awful long time to get up here. After the two years, he didn’t want to see me stuck in a wheelchair so he decided to get me a bicycle… Can you imagine? It was very hard, I kept falling and it took me months to learn how to pedal with one foot, but I eventually did. Ever since, I go everywhere on my bicycle.”