Ramesh Ferris was born in December 1979 in Coimbatore, located in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu in India.  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 take him back 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 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 recognized with a Paul Harris Fellowship in February 2008 by the Whitehorse Rendezvous Rotary Club.In 2002, Ramesh returned to India for the first time 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 money in order to make a difference to the lives of polio survivors and to prevent polio from claiming new victims.  Cycle to Walk Canada was born, with a focus on Polio Eradication, Education and Rehabilitation. In 2008, Ramesh hand-cycled 7,120 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 $C318,000 and increased the awareness of polio dramatically.


Ramesh is the Vice-President of the Whitehorse Rotary Club, Chair of the Rotary PolioPlus Committee for his club, and the Chair of the Rotary Music Festival in his community of Whitehorse. This past 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 amzon.com, proceeds benefit Rotary PolioPlus.   Ramesh’s campaign for Polio Eradication, Education and Rehabilitation will continue with Cycle to Walk Australia. Ramesh will hand-cycle over 2,000 kms from Melbourne to Brisbane, starting on 1 October 2011


He also features on the speaking circuit in India, the USA and throughout his home country of Canada, talking about his experiences with polio and the need to end polio now. Most recently Ramesh has shared Rotary’s Message of Polio Eradication to delegates of the Rotary International Convention in Montreal, Rotaract participants at the RI Montreal Pre-Convention, The Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper, and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. Ramesh looks forward to talking with you as he shares his personal journey and invites you to join in the efforts of making our global community polio free!