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The music accompanying this video is selected from the composition “Distance”, written and performed by Sophia Exiner
Extract from Elizabeth Brand artist statement
I was 2-and-a-half years old when I was diagnosed with polio. I felt guilty and blamed myself. I believed it was my punishment for having been disobedient. Soon the rest of my body became paralysed and when I started having trouble breathing I was placed in a humidity crib alongside 5 other small children. I was the only one to survive. More guilt.
When I was 59 years old I could no longer continue in my job. Being on my feet for up to 8 hours a day reduced me to tears. I was put on a disability pension and continued as co-ordinator of the local soup kitchen. Recently most of those activities have become too difficult for my physical condition.
I am now part of a singing group, entertaining people in aged care facilities and other functions. I’m also part of a choir. The remainder of my time is spent painting, attending art classes and researching family history.
Looking back over my life I realise that I have been more affected by the emotional circumstances of having polio than the actual disease itself. Dealing with my feelings has been more painful than I could ever have believed but I now feel free to enjoy life; a life without guilt or shame.