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Unbreakable: The Remarkable Journey of Paul Alexander


In a world where hardships usually reveal the true extent of human resilience, the life of Paul Alexander is an example of the unwavering spirit that can handle even the most difficult situations. For the past decades of seven, Paul Alexander has lived his life having a 600-pound iron lung, a relic of the past, mainly as a result of polio that made him paralyzed when he was only six years- old. His trip is symbolized by moveable determination and a non-stop effort and indicates the impact of a disease that once seized the nation.

Born in 1946, Paul Alexander entered a world grappling with the aftermath of World War II, only to confront a new enemy: polio. In the midst of the worst polio outbreak in U.S. history, with nearly 58 thousand reported cases, Paul’s life turned upside down, and he unfortunately became one of its many victims. Polio, a poliovirus that results in paralyzation from the neck down with a decreased ability to breathe or even to breathe at all, was the disease that disabled Paul.

When the virus moved to Paul’s spinal cord and broke his connection with his body, the machine became the leading player in his life, and it would keep him alive for the next half of a century. Even though he was held back by an illness that restricted his ability to breathe, Paul never gave up. In this way, Paul became friends with the very machine that was designed to mimic the rhythmic motion of breathing, which is the iron lung. Although it was rather significant and constricting, it was his living machine and relegated as his lifeline.

For many years, Paul Alexander has been in situations where his resilience has been put to the test multiple times. From the comforts of his iron lung, he persistently observed the advancement of medicine until the approval of the polio vaccine and its administration to the world in 1955. Nevertheless, after the country was declared polio-free in 1979, Paul’s life did not change overnight. As long as he was in his time capsule, he continued to live in the olden time when the machine held his fragile life.

The extreme physical condition caused by confinement in an iron lung matched the mental and psychological obstacles Paul had to deal with. While his movements were restricted, he could not cough or wheeze either, and he had a limited perspective. Unlike others, he endured his confinement with uncompromising resolve. However, locked in his iron castle, Paul unexpectedly found through the most intimate moments of well-being and support from loved ones and friendly strangers.

After a series of years that eventually became decades, the story of Paul Alexander enthralled the whole world. The unbroken spirit and the strength of this man against the vicissitudes of life became the hope-fuel for all those thousands of people who experienced their fair share of troubles and hardships. In March of this year, Paul was honoured by the Guinness World Records as the longest iron lung patient ever, a confirmation of his powerful legacy and a story reminding us that everything is possible in life.

Today, when we look back at Paul’s incredible life, we understand that the human spirit is so strong that there is nothing it cannot overcome. His story is a heartfelt illustration of the delicacy of existence and the richness of inner strength every person contains. In a world that is sometimes challenging and filled with difficulties, Paul’s determination shows that people can stay strong, no matter what happens.

While we face challenges of our own, let us gain strength from the extraordinary story of Paul Alexander. Let us accept the difficulties that face us and be courageous and persistent, knowing that in our hearts lies the power to get through even the most challenging times. It is not the size of the problem but the size of the heart that conquers the obstacle.


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