Richard Daggett is president of the Polio Survivors Association and is a lay member of the American Academy of Home Care Medicine. He is a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church and a journalist, mostly writing on the disabled condition. His articles have appeared in medical journals and medically related newsletters. Daggett contracted polio in 1953 at the age of 13. He spent six months in an “iron lung” and almost three years in the hospital.
Daggett was born in Los Angeles and has been a Downey resident since 1950. He studied psychology, geology, history and physics through the UCLA Extension Program. In 2010 Richard’s autobiography “Not Just Polio: My Life Story” was published.
In 1974, Daggett and other severely disabled polio out-patients of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center were discussing some of their common concerns. Among these were how to remain independent in their own homes, and how to obtain and maintain adaptive equipment necessary for their independence. This group of polio out patients decided to organize as the Polio Survivors Association and, in 1975, formed a nonprofit corporation to promote the well-being and improve the quality of life for severely disabled polio survivors. Mr. Daggett has led the Association since 1980.
Daggett has been honored for his advocacy efforts by the California State Senate and the California State Assembly, as well as the County of Los Angeles and the City of Downey. He was the Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year in 1989. When he accepted the Volunteer of the Year award he said, “As individuals, or even as a group, I know we cannot solve all of the world’s problems. But, if I can improve the life of one person, then my life is also enriched.”
Written by Nicole Arevalo, for a school assignment, based on personal interviews
Post-Polio excerpts from Richard's autobiography