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Man who's lived inside iron lung machine for more than 70 years still has to pay to stay alive

Man who's lived inside iron lung machine for more than 70 years still has to pay to stay alive

Paul Alexander has needed the iron lung to survive for most of his life, but has to pay to stay alive

A man has lived inside an iron lung for almost his entire life, and still needs to pay to keep himself alive.

Paul Alexander lives in Dallas, Texas and has needed the tank respirator, which pulls air in and out of his lungs to simulate breathing, since he contracted polio when was six years old.

He regularly provides updates on his life in an iron lung as a part of his TikTok series 'Convos with Paul!', and also answers his viewers' questions.

In episode one of the series, he explained why he has needed the iron lung machine for over 70 years.

He had gone outside to play with his brother, but came back inside with a fever, aches and fatigue.

Left paralysed from the neck down ever since, Paul revealed that he was in hospital on a gurney during his early stages.

Nurses put him in a hallway full of kids with polio, some of which didn't make it.

Paul managed to overcome this adversity though, finishing high school and obtaining two law degrees, eventually practising law from a special wheelchair and writing a book about his life.

Paul Alexander shares TikToks which educate his viewers about polio.

His revealed his long-term goal: "I want to talk to the world about polio and the millions of children not protected against polio.

"They have to be before there is another epidemic."

Paul has revealed that he needs to pay to stay alive, as he needs specific equipment and help that isn't easy to come by.

Posting a video last week, he thanked all contributors to his GoFundMe, which has accumulated over $137,000 (£108,000).

He said: "I understand that there are people who are actually making contributions to the GoFundMe page.

"I'm just blown away by that."

Paul explained that his life is expensive, requiring two other machines other than the 'big yellow one' he is in, and that he has two wonderful carers who look after him 24/7.

He said they were 'caring people', and that he could 'go on and on'.

Paul continued: "Just let me tell you that it means a lot to me because I actually can pay my expenses.

"For all the people that have given to me because they care, I just want to tell you, I love you."

Paul showed his gratitude towards viewers who contributed to his GoFundMe.

Viewers in the comments of the video showed their support for Paul too.

One user said: "Your positive outlook on life and your smile is absolutely inspiring."

Another commented: "Anytime grad school gets hard I remember you passed your Bar Exam and graduated law school! You inspire so many students everyday :)."

A third added: "Love his bearded dragon animal sitting there, this is the best bless you Paul! many blessings."

If you want to contribute to Paul's GoFundMe, you can so so here.

Polio is a serious virus which has since become extremely rare in the UK due to the vaccination programme against it.

The polio vaccine is part of the NHS' routine childhood vaccination schedule. It is given to children at eight, 12 and 16 weeks old as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine; three years, four months old as part of the 4-in-1 (DTaP/IPV) pre-school booster; 14 years old as part of the 3-in-1 (Td/IPV) teenage booster.

You need all five of these vaccinations to be fully vaccinated against polio.

Featured Image Credit: @ironlungman/TikTok

Topics: Health, TikTok, US News, Paul Alexander