Wesley Hazlitt contracted paralytic polio in 1953 in Winnipeg at the age of 13 months, 2 years before the Salk vaccine was licensed. He remained at home initially, but eventually was hospitalized for 6 weeks. He started to walk again with 2 leg braces and eventually went to 1 leg brace and crutches to walk to school. Through hard work, he competed in challenging tasks and sports.
Wes had a passion for swimming. His love for swimming not only defied the odds but also showcased his spirit of adventure. His affinity for the water became a symbol of his ability to overcome obstacles and embrace the joy of life’s experiences. He represented Canada at the age of 17 at the Stoke Mandeville Games in the United Kingdom, the precursor to the Paralympics and came home with a number of swimming records and medals. He loved nothing better than being in the water and especially loved swimming the oceans of the world.
Post-polio hit Wes in his late 20s with a diagnosis in 1988 predicting his life to come. He experienced crushing fatigue, increased weakness, and memory issues. He had to retire from work early. In his late 60s use of a wheelchair was required in addition to multiple other aids to access his home and manage daily functions.
In January 2023 he began experiencing significant health issues which led to a diagnosis of Glioblastoma (Grade 4). On February 1, 2023 he had surgery to remove a brain tumour. Over the following months, he received the Standard of Care in Canada which is radiation and temozolomide. No other treatment options or clinical trials were available to him in Manitoba. Unfortunately, his condition did not improve and he passed away on August 13, 2023 at the age of 71.
Prior to his passing he served as the President of the Post-Polio Network of Manitoba and a representative in World Polio Support Groups across Canada, the United States and Australia. Wes was a diehard fan of the Winnipeg Jets and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He had much more he wanted to accomplish in life and wanted to see his grandchildren grow older.
Wes had a great sense of humour and was often out in his local community visiting his neighbors. He will be greatly missed by his wife, two sons, daughter-in-laws, grandchildren, extended family and friends.
Wes’s favorite saying was, “I’ll wait right here.” We know that wherever we go he will be waiting and his presence will be with us always.
Charity No. 80359 4985 RR001
PO Box 30007 RPO Woodbine Heights
Toronto, ON M4C 5J2