Gillian Thomas

For 25 years I have worked for Polio NSW [previously known as Post-Polio Network (NSW)] on a voluntary basis. I was a member of the original Working Party set up in 1988 to establish the Network, was subsequently elected as Secretary, and in 1997 became the Network’s President. I was also the Editor of the Network’s highly regarded quarterly newsletter Network News from 1989 to 2012.

In 2002 I was honoured to receive an inaugural David Bodian Memorial Award from the International Post-Polio Task Force in recognition of my work for polio survivors, while in 2004 I was invited to serve on Post-Polio Health International’s Consumer Advisory Committee. In January 2009 I was delighted to be awarded an Australia Day Community Service Award from Randwick Council for my outstanding service to polio survivors and the community.

I passionately believe in the need for a national voice for polio survivors and my efforts culminated in the highly successful meeting of all Australian State Polio Networks in May 2007 and the unanimous agreement to form Polio Australia. Polio Australia is now a reality and in 2008 I was elected its inaugural President. At the 2012 Annual General Meeting, having served two consecutive terms as President and being constitutionally ineligible to re-stand at that time for this position, I was elected as Vice President. At the 2017 Annual General Meeting, upon the retirement of John Tierney OAM as President, I was re-elected to that position.