A Patient Discovers a Piece of His Past

August 23, 2016

Last week, we shared the inspirational story of Bill Martin on our Facebook page. At age 6, Bill contracted polio and he was treated at HHH for the first time at 12 years old in 1947. Following a pelvis injury earlier this year, Bill found himself back at HHH and he made an exciting discovery about his past:

When Bill Martin came to HHH after breaking his pelvis earlier this year, he never imagined he’d stumble upon a piece of his past. Yet, each time he passed an old black and white photo of a young boy featured in the hospital atrium’s historical display, he had a strange feeling that he had seen him before. That’s because, upon further inspection, he realized that the little boy was himself!

Diagnosed with polio at the age of six, Bill recognized himself in the 1947 photo as a 12-year-old boy entering into the hospital’s therapy pool. It has been a long time since that photo was taken and, today, at 81 years old and the proud father of 6 children, 12 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild, Bill remembers the hard work and incredible support that have gotten him here.

He recalls his parents, who advocated fiercely for their son’s rights in a way that was ahead of their time; his loving wife of 59 years who was only recently discharged from HHH herself; and his children and grandchildren who have continued to support him throughout his battle with post polio syndrome. It’s a rare syndrome, Bill says, but he has never let it stop him. In fact, the roofing company he started as a young man with just a ladder and a bucket of tar is now in its 50th year, with his sons now at the helm of Rockland’s Martin Restoration.

He laughs telling the story of how he used to hop up the ladder rungs on his “good leg” and how he even roofed a few buildings at HHH. His daughter Patricia beams with pride noting that, truly, nothing has ever held her father back from fulfilling his dreams. In fact, in addition to his successful roofing business, Bill founded the Spring Hill Ambulance Corp in his hometown of Spring Valley and also volunteered for the Rockland Hook and Ladder Co. for many years.

As Bill prepares for discharge from HHH once again, 69 years after his first stay, he and his family also express their love for the hospital. Patricia praises the care and expertise of the doctors and therapists which treated both her father and mother, while Bill greatly appreciates the tight-knit community, which feels more like family to him.

“Everybody is wonderful here,” Bill says. “I am on a first-name basis with so many people.”

We’re thrilled to be on a first-name basis with Bill and admire his positivity and determination – they’ve inspired us all for 69 years running.

It was a privilege getting to know Bill and he kindly allowed us to film some of his therapy to share with you. Bill found aquatic therapy especially helpful and in this video you will see him focusing on hip strength and mobility in our warm water therapy pool.

For more information about physical rehabilitation at HHH, please call us at 845-786-4000.