Community Service/ 2019 World Polio Day

World Polio Day celebrated with the first all-Billericay Tri-Club Rotary dinner, raising over £900 for End Polio Now.

Most of our members at the Dinner with Anne and President Yvonne of Billericay Mayflower Rotary
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“Disabled By Polio - Enabled By Determination”

From Mud Hut To Paralympian – Anne’s Story

The first all-Billericay Tri-Club Rotary dinner was held at Burghstead Golf Club on Thursday, October 24.  This was World Polio Day when Rotary Clubs all over the world came together to mark the occasion and raise money for End Polio Now.  Such meetings will have heard speakers but few will have been as moved as members of our Club were when they joined the two other Billericay Rotary Clubs, DG Pauline Dean, PDG Terry Dean and John Bellringer of the Lions club to the first all-Billericay Tri-club Rotary dinner at Burghstead Golf Club.  63 members attended this Rotary Tri-club event and over £900 was raised for End Polio Now.

Anne Wafula Strike MBE astonished us with her personal story of fortitude, motivation, achievement and success.   We are proud to collate her story here from what she told us.

Persistence & Determination

“I may be disabled by polio, but I’m enabled by determination.  I was born in a mud hut in Mihuu in Bungoma, Kenya, in Africa. I was a normal child until one day, at the age of two and a half, I went swimming in a nearby river, and came back crying with pain. I had little mobility, and soon was unable to walk unaided.  The villagers suspected witchcraft, and I became an outcast.

The villagers would tell me I was cursed, and even my extended family would tell my father that I would never amount to anything and it was a waste of time to educate such a cursed child who could never succeed at school.

My mother died when I was only nine. I was devastated. My mother had been my world – bathing me, feeding me, dressing me, and transporting me.  My determination, and the support of my father, saw me overcome my loss and disabilities and finish primary school, and then pass  “O” levels  and  "A” levels at senior school, and go on to Moi University from where I  graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree. 

In My Dreams I Dance

I married an Englishman, Norman Strike and moved to the UK. Soon, we had a son, Tim, of whom I am immensely proud.  I discovered McDonalds, KFC and the joys of chocolate. I put on weight and decided to lose it at a gym.

By chance, a Paralympics coach was there and thought I could do well.  I discovered wheelchair racing and applied my customary determination to succeed and within three years was representing Kenya in the Paralympics Games.  And, taking British nationality in 2006, I then competed in the Paralympics for Team GB.

My autobiography was published in 2010, entitled “In My Dreams I Dance".  “Why that title?  It harks back to my old school. The children asked:  “What do you dream about when you sleep? Are you disabled in your dreams?”  I told them:  “In my dreams I dance”.  It had to be the title about my life and how I like to think I overcame my problems.

I’m not Disabled!

What is the definition of disabled? Injured, crippled, worthless, useless!  Do NOT define me like that, I am not disabled!

Look at the definition of able – powerful, intelligent, skilful, talented, resourceful.  That’s what I really am – all those things.  I am able in a different way. 

You must never give up.  When you have a disability, knowing that you are not defined by it, is the sweetest feeling.

Anne was appointed an MBE in 2014 in recognition of her sporting success and life achievements.