Bay St. Louis musician Pat Murphy speaks on polio experience

A polio survivor is making it his mission to teach people across the Coast about the history of the disease and the impacts it still has on people today.

Bay St. Louis musician and community member Pat Murphy spoke to Bay Rotary Club about his experience fighting polio.

Murphy was born in 1949 in Bay St. Louis. In 1952, Murphy was diagnosed with polio at just two-and-a-half years old and was left paralyzed in his left arm soon after.

Murphy talked about growing up after his polio diagnosis, saying he lived a relatively normal life and was able to accomplish one of his dreams of being a keyboard player in his band and performing for more than 50 years.

One of his main priorities of these talks is to spread awareness of Post-Polio Syndrome, something he suffers with himself.

Murphy says polio can kill up to three-fourths of the motor neurons in people, which can cause their bodies to lose motor functions earlier in their lives. “You’re living your life using motor neurons that you really don’t have to use. So, as you get older, you got even less motor neurons because you’ve killed a bunch of them yourself by overusing them.”

Murphy says his goal with these talks is not only educate people on polio’s history, but to teach people the impacts Post-Polio Syndrome has on people today.

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