If the word “Kosair” is new to you, you aren’t from around here. Kosair Children’s Hospital is a magical mantra that brings reassurance and hope to anyone in the Kentuckiana area who loves or has loved a sick child.
When I was a kid, there was an epidemic of polio (poliomyelitis) — a viral infection that causes paralysis in up to 2% of cases. Most people who get the virus don’t even know they’ve had it. Apparently, I was one of those. The daughter of a friend of my mother’s wasn’t so lucky. I remember going to Kosair to visit the child in an iron lung. Imagine seeing the little curl-topped head of your friend sticking out of one of these.
Polio was everywhere. We were all terrified of it. The only thing that gave us any sense of safety was Kosair. They not only had the best pediatric specialists, they were famous for treating their patients as people. As child people. As people who mattered.
Here’s a site about the American polio epidemics. Please click through and read the intense and beautiful poem about air.
Even today, when polio and iron lungs are pretty much things of the past, any news of an ill or injured child that’s followed by the words, “They took him to Kosair,” causes everyone who hears it to breathe a little easier.
Kosair is still there, with multiple locations and increasing outreach, active not just in hospitalization and treatment but also in health and safety education and child advocacy. Here’s a link to their Ways To Help page, with links to their free magazine on child health and safety, Cartwheels. Please click through and see what they offer for any child anywhere and what you can do to help.
WRITING PROMPT: A character is apparently immune to an epidemic that is raging around him or her.