Carolyn and Maureen met at a support group in West Palm Beach in the summer of 1994. After talking to others, they knew that there was a need for such a support group in south Palm Beach County.
The first organizational meeting of our support group was held on June 4, 1996. Eight enthusiastic people attended – Anne Cuskley, Effie Daubenspeck, Carolyn DeMasi, Maureen Henriksen, Jane McMillen, June Priest, Gert Savith, and Milly Sims. Soon, we grew to 23 and needed a permanent place to meet.
In the Fall of 1996, we became a ministry of Spanish River Church where we still continue to hold our monthly meetings. Our first meeting at this new location was held on September 11, 1996. Twenty-seven people attended and the majority voted to name us the BOCA AREA POST POLIO GROUP. Topics and speakers were planned and the group was on its way!
As a result of the dedication and generosity of members, families, sponsors, friends, and other community supporters, the BOCA AREA POST POLIO GROUP grew and is proud of its many accomplishments. More than 550 Polio survivors, family and friends have come and gone through our doors these past 22 years. Our monthly dining/lunching get-togethers have been extremely successful including our anniversary and Christmas/Holiday luncheons. A lending library has also been established.
From its inaugural issue, October, 1998, our monthly newsletter, Second Time Around, grew to reach over 575 worldwide.
February 19, 2000 we hosted our first Post Polio Conference, Into the Millennium, with 272 attendees at The Embassy Suites Hotel in Boca Raton, FL.
November 2003 began our yearly “spirit of adventure” cruising the high seas aboard Royal Caribbean/Celebrity ships. Our destinations included Eastern/Western Caribbean and Panama Canal attracting cruisers from AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, KS, MI, MO, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, VA, Canada & Italy, too! In 2012, our 9th cruise, we had a record high of 40 cruisers including several newbies. Our upcoming 16th cruise in 2019 is planned to explore Key West, FL; Costa Maya & Cozumel, Mexico; & Georgetown, Grand Cayman!!
Beginning December 30, 2008, thanks to the generous, talented and creative efforts of member Jane McGookey, MI, we have a website, http://www.postpolio.wordpress.com, thus enabling over 336 members to now receive the newsletter electronically & only 239 by mail saving printing costs and trees.
Networking is a very important part of a successful support group. Those of us who are experiencing these late effects of polio realize we’re not alone because we are “sharing and caring” together.
June 2018 will be our 221st meeting at Spanish River Church!