Editor’s note: At an October 1997 March of Dimes fundraising dinner, Jim Burns, then chief judge of the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals, shared the inspiring story of his mother, Beatrice “Bea” Burns, with the audience. The text of his speech was published in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin a few days later and was called to the Herald’s attention by former Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Gregg Kakesako. The following is an excerpt of that speech.
“In 1935, when she was 29 years old and pregnant with my older brother, Bill, Mom was infected with polio. In her words, ‘I was completely paralyzed. I couldn’t even sneeze. I couldn’t brush my teeth or any of those things. I was a prisoner in my own body.’