History of Polio Quebec

It isn’t always easy for an association to stay alive and useful over the years. However, 25 years after our foundation, we are still active and determined to answer our members’ needs and to evolve with them.
Many moments have been significant during these past years and those moments have been possible thanks to many volunteers people determined to help, to inform and to support people affected by polio.
Here you will find our history and evolution, recounted through significant moments and achievements.
(Upcoming Section – Available in French)


The term post-polio syndrome was used for the first time to refer to the late effects of polio.


As a librarian at the CBC in Montreal, Sieglinde Stieda sees an increasing number of individuals who are struggling with new problems related to their polio and try to help each other and alert the medical community. Compiling the limited information available, she regroups people interested in setting up an organization in Quebec. Lloyd McClintock of the Rotary Club of Montreal offers an initial monetary subscription. Sieglinde draws the stylized neuron which will eventually become the logo used by the group on its press releases. Monique Grégoire, a valuable collaborator, will act as a mentor for Sieglinde.

October 19th, 1985

Founding meeting of Polio Québec.
The theme: “Polio 30 years later.”

October and November 1985

Publication of the first Polio Québec fact sheet, edited by Sieglinde Stieda.

November 11th, 1985

First Polio Québec executive meeting in the CBC cafeteria.
  • President : Sieglinde Stieda;
  • Vice-President : Céline Bourget;
  • Vice-President : John McDonald;
  • Treasurer : Marcel Angers;
  • Secretary (Eng.) : Mona Arsenault;
  • Secretary (Fr.) : Marcelle Duguay.

Fall 1986

Gordon Allison, Joyce Jerrett and Marcel Angers are preparing the incorporation of Polio Québec, its charter, its regulations and the membership conditions. Because of the initials of Polio Québec, PQ, the name is rejected for political reasons and replaced by the Quebec Post-Polio Syndrome Association – Association québécoise du syndrome post-polio.

October 14th, 1986

The association receives its letters patent (films 567, document 1) from the Inspector General of Financial Institutions.

August 1986

Dr. Neil Cashman arrives in Montreal to join the McGill University team as an assistant professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Dr. Cashman was making research in Chicago with polio patients as a control group and was sensitized to the fact that their disabilities were not always stable. This led him to found the first post-polio syndrome clinic in Chicago.

February 1988

Opening of the Post-Polio Clinic at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital by Dr. Neil Cashman. The first health professionals to get involved are Lois Finch, Adriana Venturini, Colleen Wilford, Monica Kilfoil and Ruth Dannenbaum (physiotherapists); Dr. Daniel Gendron (neurologist and electromyography specialist) and Josée Lemoignan (occupational therapist).

January 1989

Dr. Daria Trojan (physiatrist) joins the Post-Polio Clinic team as a researcher first and then as a doctor. She is responsible for diagnosis and consultation for patients with post-polio syndrome at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.

1988 to 1990

Under the chairmanship of Mona Arsenault, support groups for people with post-polio syndrome are created in the Montreal area. After two years, because of the low attendance, they opt for the organization of social meetings in order to favor the relations between the members and the exchanges of information.

Winter 1989

Publication of volume 2, no. 1 of the journal Folio Polio.


Publication and distribution of a pamphlet entitled “What do you know about polio?” and a guide on post-polio syndrome.

September 1990

The Quebec Post-Polio Syndrome Association changes its name to Association Polio Québec / Polio Quebec Association.


The Association adopts a new logo.
A Polio Québec group is formed in Quebec City by Claude and Claire Mercier.


A new regrouping is in operation in Outaouais, under the leadership of Francine Chénier.

Spring 1994

Under the coordination of Mona Arsenault, Polio Québec is participating in the “50-Plus” conference for seniors.


ICN Pharmaceuticals agrees to sponsor a large-scale trial of  the Mestinon drug in the treatment of post-polio syndrome. This North American study involves six university centers, the main one being the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital.


Dr. Neil Cashman initiates and chairs a post-polio working group. They wrote and distributed a medical monograph of post-polio syndrome to all physiatrists and neurologists in North America and produced a compact optical disc, an information brochure to people who had polio, a website (this site is now operated by the International Polio Network). Although the results of drug testing are disappointing, many patients and doctors remain convinced that the fatigue from polio can be alleviated by regular or occasional use of Mestinon.
Polio Québec inaugurates its website to transmit basic information on polio in French and to provide links to other sources of information in English.

September, 16th, 1995

Polio Québec is participating in the Conference on Alternative Therapies to raise awareness of post-polio syndrome and promote the polio vaccine.

September 22-24, 1995

At the Auberge Universel de Montréal, Polio Québec‘s first bilingual conference on post-polio syndrome, “Post-Polio Information Days 95”.

April 8th, 1996

At a concert given by Itzhak Perlman at Place des Arts, Polio Québec is collecting $2,000 through ticket sales.

May 25th, 1996

The general spring meeting is held in Drummondville with the help of Angèle Ruel.

Fall 1996

A dozen members take advantage of the water exercise program set up by Polio Québec at the Lucie-Bruneau Center. Even if we have not been able to continue this activity, we must encourage the realization of such projects.

October 5th, 1996

The tenth anniversary of Polio Québec also marks ten years of involvement of Claude and Claire Mercier. The Annual General Meeting celebrates their generosity and tireless commitment to the cause of Polio Québec.

January 1997

Pierrette Caron and Sally Aitken began collecting the experiences of polio victims and the testimonies of people involved in order to publish a book. Gilles Fournier joined them in May 1998.

Spring 1997

The Polio Québec Board of Directors decides to support the regional groups in their implementation. At the initiative of Father Yves Gaudreault, an assembly of members of the Estrie region was convened. A regional association was subsequently formed under the direction of Bob Goulet.

September 27th, 1997

Conference by Dr. Richard Bruno, psychophysiologist at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, in New Jersey, and Dr. Nancy Frick, psychologist at the Harvest Center, also in New Jersey, on fatigue and the effects of childhood trauma on post-polio syndrome. The Montreal Neurological Institute took advantage of Dr. Bruno’s visit in Montreal to organize a debate the day before, bringing together Drs. Neil Cashman, Robert Miller and Richard Bruno. The theme: “Fatigue related to polio. Where is the lesion?”.

May 23rd, 1998

The general meeting of the spring is held in Quebec City, where interventions are on the one hand by Dr Daria Trojan, with an update on polio, and on the other hand, by one of our members, the nutritionist Andrée Lambert, on the importance of diet. Dr. Cashman’s departure was marked by a “well-baked” because he received an offer from Toronto “that he could not refuse”.


(Coming soon) October 8, 2008: Sending of the first Flash-Info-Rapide.

October 10th, 2010

Celebration of the 25th anniversary of Polio Québec with our members, collaborators and friends with a dinner, music, draws and dance. In addition, we took the opportunity to present 9 honorary plates to acknowledge the participation of two speakers at the AGM, Mr. Sean Marckos and Mr. Paul Beaulieu, and the valuable work and support of five other contributors: Dr. Trojan, Ms. Danielle Lafleur, MAB-Mackay Center, National Women’s Water Polo Team, Ms. Mona Arsenault, Mr. Ramesh Ferris and Mr. Bob Goulet.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Polio Québec, the former Polio Québec presidents agreed to write a few words about the period when they assumed the presidency of the Association. You will find these testimonials in Folio Polio #44 – Autumn 2010, a special edition that retraces the history of Polio Québec.


Here are the present and former presidents of Polio Quebec :
1. Sieglinde Stieda (Founder. 1985 – 1986)
2. Yolande Rouleau (1986 – 1988)
3. Mona Arsenault (1988 – 1993)
4. Sally Aitken (1993 – 1997)
5. Pauline Sweer (1997 – 1999)
6. Révérend William (Bill) Phillips (1999 – 2000)
7. Père Yves Gaudreault (2000 – 2002)
8. Mario Di Carlo (2002 – 2006)
9. Gilles Besner (2006 – 2012)
10. Daniel Montmarquette (2013 – …)

Medical Advisors

Since 1985, Polio Quebec has had two Medical Advisors :
1. Dr Neil Cashman (1986 – 1998)
2. Dre Daria A. Trojan (1998 – …)

Board Members

Here is the list, by alphabetic order, of people who has given their time to be boardmembers of the Association, from its beginning until now.
Ackad, Samir
Aitken, Sally
Allison, Gordon
Anger, Beth
Anger, Marcel
Arsenault, Mona
Baldé, Lamine
Beaudin, Jacqueline
Bergeron, Normand
Besner, Gilles
Blain, Dr Gilbert
Bombardier, Michel
Bourget, Céline
Campos, Robert
Caron, Pierrette
Colangelo, Sylvie
Cossette, Gérard
Cruess, Dr Richard
D’Amico, Anne
De Gagné, Jacques
Di Carlo, Mario
D’orazio, Helen
Duguay, Marcel
Dumais, Raymond
Elliot, David
Fothergill, Jack
Fournier, Gilles
Fowles, Dr John
Francoeur, Carmen
Gagliardi, Nicole
Gaudette, Jean-François
Gaudreault, Père Yves
Giannuzzi, Gregory
Groot, Richard
Guttman, Dre Herta
Hanrahan, Margaret
Hayeur, Louise
Héroux, Lise
Houle, Diane
Jerrett, Joyce
Katta, Amitha
Lalande, Bernard
Lamarche, Ginette
Lambert, Andrée
Lamrane, Khadija
Larivière, Roland
Mallen, Chantal
Massicotte, Sylvie
McDonald, John
McGuinness, Audrey
Mercier, Claire
Mercier, Claude
Montmarquette, Daniel
Ouellet, Lise
Phillips, Rev. William
Pignatelli, Francesco
Poulin, Marie-Claude
Quintal, Ginette
Robinson, Ann
Rouleau, Yolande
Rousse, François
Silverman, Syd
Stieda, Sieglinde
Stenson, Bruno Paul
St-Onge, Gérald
Strobel, Geneviève
Sweer, Pauline
Taing, Sok-kheng
Valin, Stewart
Van Daele, Anne-Marie
Van Daele, Paul
Venturini, Adriana
Wasson, Françoise
Wasson, Robert
Westcott, Alice

Signification du logo

It’s in 1992 that Polio Quebec has adopted the present logo : a brilliant sun with one gray ray amongst shining ones suggesting that we are a group that wishes to enlighten the polio world – to radiate outwards, ever mindful of the potential secondary effects this disease (the gray ray).

The number “25” inside the sun was used between 2010 and 2013 to underline the 25th anniversary of Polio Quebec – 25 years dedicated in helping people concerned by polio.

For those who remember

Before the designing of the current logo, another picture has been used by the Association at its beginning. It was a stylized neurone, drew by Sieglinde Stieda, founder of Polio Quebec, and her friend. This picture (below) has been used in the very first Folio Polio newspapers.