Ramesh Ferris was born in December 1979 in Coimbatore, located in the Southern He contracted polio at age six months and his legs were left paralyzed for life. With no means or access to rehabilitation for him, Ramesh’s mother placed him in Families for Children, a Canadian-founded orphanage, a year later. Soon after, Ron Ferris, Anglican Bishop of Yukon in Canada, and his wife Jan began the lengthy process to adopt Ramesh and bring him over to Canada. With the support of his new Canadian family and after several operations, Ramesh learned to walk with crutches and braces for the first time at age 3.5 years.
Since 2001, after graduating with his diploma in Social Work from Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario, he has been active in his community working with at-risk youths, social welfare recipients and people of varying abilities. In recognition of his work with youth, Ramesh was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship in February 2008 by the Whitehorse Rendezvous Rotary Club. In 2002, Ramesh returned to India to meet his biological mother and to visit the orphanage where he once lived. During the visit, Ramesh learned of polio survivors who, without the necessary medical attention and supports, were forced to pad their knees with cut-up pieces of tire and crawl on the ground.
After much reflection about his visit to India, Ramesh was determined to raise from claiming new victims. Cycle to Walk Canada was born, with a focus on Polio Eradication, Education and Rehabilitation. In 2008, Ramesh hand-cycled 4400 miles (7140 kms) across Canada. Along the route, he participated in 350 media interviews and made over 200 presentations at schools, Rotary clubs, churches and various levels of government. This campaign raised thousands of dollars and increased the awareness of polio dramatically.
Ramesh is a Rotarian with the Whitehorse Rendezvous.
In April 2010 Ramesh released his first book entitled, Better Than a Cure, One Man’s Journey to Free the World of Polio. Books are available for $19.55 online at www.amazon.com, proceeds benefit Rotary PolioPlus for a Polio Free World.
Ramesh features on the speaking circuit in India, The United States of America, Puerto Rico, Australia, and throughout his home country of Canada, talking about his experiences surviving the effects of this dreadful disease and the need to end polio now. Ramesh has had opportunities to share the Message of Polio Eradication to delegates of the Rotary International Convention 2010 in Montreal, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Secretary of Puerto Rico, Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, and to delegates at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
It’s predicted by the World Health Organization that if the World fails to eradicate polio, an additional 10 million children will be paralyzed over the next 40 years!
Ramesh looks forward to talking with you and sharing his personal journey of surviving polio and invites you to join in the efforts of making our global community polio free!