Jack Nicklaus, the legendary golfer, spoke as a Rotary Polio Ambassador at the Atlanta Rotary Convention a few years ago.  It was there that my wife Susan and I were surprised to learn of his childhood affliction with Polio.
His heartfelt comments made a great impression on us especially when he spoke on how he and his family was affected. As an engineer, I never feel a problem is unsurmountable.  It just needs to go through a process resulting in something being invented, built, or fixed. In doing so it is easy to lose sight of the impact our Polio efforts are having in preventing memories (like Jack’s) throughout the world for other individuals and families.
So, as we prepare to celebrate our Polio successes and continue to push for eradication, I want to share some of Jack Nicklaus’ words with you.   This is from a letter he wrote to himself and can be seen in its entirety at  A Letter to Myself by Jack Nicklaus
When you turn 13, Jack, something scary is going to happen. But I need you to be strong, because it’s important, and you need to remember it. You’re going to think you have the flu. It will seem strange at first. You’ll go to the doctors, and they won’t say much. But you’ll start losing weight fast. Nearly 20 pounds in a week. Your game will desert you. You’ll play nine holes with a friend, and you’ll shoot 53. That’s a number you haven’t seen in years. You won’t know who to talk to. Then you’ll go down to Lancaster with a friend for a best-ball tournament. You guys won’t use a single one of your shots. The ride back, you’ll feel worse than ever. It’s a helpless feeling.
The next day, Dad will come grab you from the range. He’ll have news about your sister, Marilyn. “We just took Marilyn in, the doctors said she has polio. You need to go get checked again.”
They’ll tell you you’re just overcoming a bout of polio and should feel better soon. Marilyn is going to battle with it for a year, but she’ll be O.K. You’ll see how hard it is — how unfair it is. It will frustrate you that there isn’t an easier way to help her, to make her feel like herself again. In a couple of years, there will be a vaccine, and your sister will be back to normal. But the experience you have with hospitals, disease, and other children who are suffering … keep that in your mind. A day will come when you can help kids who are hurting like that. You’ll know — you’ll remember — what it’s like to feel helpless, and you’ll want to help. Don’t ignore that feeling, ever.

In 1954, once all your symptoms are gone and you’re feeling like yourself again, you’re going to start playing some of the best golf of your life. You’ll play in the Ohio Amateur up at Sylvania Country Club near Toledo.
Have a great celebration and let’s continue our push to eradicate Polio.
Give generously, 
Gerry and Susan Lambert