Woman who spent life in iron lung dies at 61

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Dianne Odell, who spent nearly six decades in an iron lung due to bulbo-spinal polio, passed away at 61. Despite her confinement, Odell pursued education, earning a high school diploma and taking college courses. She even authored a children’s book. Tragically, a recent power failure led to her demise when her iron lung stopped receiving air. Despite efforts, emergency measures and a backup generator failed, as shared by her brother-in-law, Will Beyer.

Odell contracted polio before the vaccine era and lived in the cylindrical iron lung, a relic from the 1950s.

Despite technological advances, a spinal deformity prevented her from using modern portable devices. A pillar of kindness, Odell’s care was a community effort, with family and a nonprofit foundation offering support. She once said, “You can make life good or you can make it bad.” Odell’s resilience and spirit left an enduring impact, celebrating her life in a memorable 60th birthday party in 2007.

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