According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, there are currently no effective treatments that can stop deterioration or reverse the deficits caused by Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) — there are simply no cures.
However, Bill Poole, a member of New Stanton Assembly of God in Pennsylvania, is one notable exception!
Poole was diagnosed with Polio when he was 13 months old. He recovered, but for as many as 40% of Polio survivors, PPS awaits them 15 to 40 years following recovery. In 2013, Poole fell into that 40%.
“I was in a car accident in 2013,” Poole says. “The trauma of that accident brought on the Post-Polio Syndrome in my body.”
PPS is not an overly familiar term to many, nor are its symptoms. Some similarities between PPS and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) seem to exist. PPS is a debilitating syndrome that causes extreme fatigue, increasing muscle and joint pains, progressive muscle weakness, muscle atrophy and loss of function/paralysis – including the ability to sing, talk, or even swallow. It can also potentially impact the ability to breathe.
Prior to PPS impacting his life, Pool was an AG minister who enjoyed singing and preaching.
“I became so weak, that I could barely open a bottle of water,” Poole says. “I could no longer sing, preaching was out of the question, and swallowing had become increasingly difficult.” It seemed Poole’s ministry days were over.
In addition to the weakening of his body, Poole says the pain was constant and at times was nearly unbearable; medication providing very little, if any, relief.
And for the past nine years, Poole has relied upon a cane to help him walk and maintain his balance.
Pastor Ron Ingelido began his second career as a minister in September 2019, having left his 16-year-old start-up business to follow God’s leading into the ministry. Believing he was going to leave New Stanton AG — where he had attended since 2003 — to possibly minister in Florida, he was unexpectedly asked to be a pastoral candidate for the church. He was elected.
“It was just six months before COVID really hit,” Ingelido recalls with a pause. “But in February 2020, I was getting ready to start a series on healing, so I asked four people from the church who were believing God for healing, but hadn’t received it yet, to take part in the service. Bill was one of those people.”
Ingelido had come to recognize and know a bit about Poole through the years he had attended the church — Poole had left for a time, but returned in 2017. That relationship grew when Ingelido became pastor.
“He was in pain constantly and it hurt him to talk,” Ingelido says of Poole. “He shared the struggles he had with me — so many things coming against him . . . I had watched the (PPS) progression over the years, as he endured not only physical, but mental and emotional pain. But when I told him about what I wanted to do with the service, he volunteered — he told me that he knew God was going to heal him.”
In that February 2020 service, Poole painstakingly made his way to the platform, being assisted up the stairs. He shared some of his struggles with the congregation and his belief that God was going to heal his body.
COVID then swept the United States and the country, in many ways, shut down. Church doors closed, people remained isolated at home or “disguised” behind masks, and for some, fear replaced — or at least degraded — faith.
However, Poole’s conviction that God was going to heal him remained strong, though his body did not. As COVID faded and New Stanton began holding services again, Ingelido started noticing that Poole was not attending on a regular basis, coming one week and missing the next two or three — his health was continuing to deteriorate.
“We stayed in touch through emails,” Ingelido says, “because he just wasn’t feeling well enough to come to church. There were times when he’d start choking and couldn’t breathe.”
But then Poole sent Ingelido an email he will never forget.
“He told me that he was coming to church this Sunday,” Ingelido recalls, “and that he knew God was going to heal him!”
MAY 29, 2022
That late-May Sunday, as promised, Poole came to church. And during the altar service, he hobbled forward for prayer.
“My wife, Jamie, was leading worship and I was on the drums, so I went to pray for him,” Ingelido says. “We just gathered around him and he was just praying so earnestly. Then tears started rolling down his face, and you could just sense that he and God were having a moment — that moment when God touched and healed him right then and there!”
Poole confirms the miraculous healing.
“I felt the power of the Holy Spirit like never before,” Poole says. “I could feel a charge of power come over me so strongly, it almost knocked me down.”
Ingelido says he watched Poole turn, walk back up the aisle, and hand his cane to his wife, Kimberly, and simply state, “I don’t need this anymore.”
Was it just a rush of adrenaline that gave Poole the power to walk down that aisle, unaided?
Not according to his doctors.
With PPS, the body’s deterioration is ongoing. It does not reverse. When Poole visited his doctors, they were nothing short of amazed. His strength was far beyond what it had been. He no longer had any difficult in talking or swallowing. His cane? At home.
“Bill told me one of his doctors was so stunned, she said, ‘I need to go back to church!’” Ingelido says, laughing.
Since then, Poole has been at nearly every Sunday and Wednesday service, and readily shared his testimony with the congregation.
“I’m still working on strengthening my leg muscles, but I’m getting stronger all the time,” Poole says. “But I’m ready to get back in the saddle.”
And Ingelido couldn’t agree more, having already asked the Pooles to be on the church’s greeting team.
“I tell people that at New Stanton we are for real,” Ingelido says. “We’re real people, serving a real God, and making a real difference . . . when Bill came up and shared his testimony, people were shedding real tears as they knew God had healed him — for real!”