Thanksgiving Memory: Mom Gives Up Dreams to Help Polio-Stricken Son to Walk

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"I had visited her earlier that summer. She needed three caregivers for round the clock care, and I was there for moral support, helping her remember things after anesthesia wiped things out, and to help her walk with her broken hip."

But Sipolski said he saw it as a way to repay his mother for all the care she'd given him when he was a little boy in leg braces.

"I remember the many years of our kitchen table leg exercises, and how Mom would try to distract me from the stretching and reshaping of my muscles," he said. "She talked of the world that had waited for her to see, but she had fallen madly in love with a young soldier and sacrificed her dreams of a career at the Pentagon and to see the world, to become a wife and mother."

Sipolski said he made his mother proud after he graduated from college and accepted a job as a reporter from media giant Rupert Murdoch in Australia, and later in Paris. He eventually went on to publish San Francisco's Gentry magazine.

Retired, but still freelancing, Sipolski said he still struggles with post-polio syndrome, and has difficulty walking and uses crutches.

"I don't think the pain of my polio ever left her," he said. "Because you see … [on the day she died], 50 years earlier, was the date I was diagnosed with polio."

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