I originally posted this on April 12, 2012. And I figured that you, dear reader, would want a break from my several consecutive days of posting flower pictures.
(But no worries - I'll be back Sunday with more flowers, just in time for Mother's Day.)
Several days ago, I read a blog post that touched on The March of Dimes charity and the late President Franklin Roosevelt who had (or may not have had) a once dreaded disease called polio.
On the anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt's sudden death on April 12,
1945, I blogged about a scourge of my early childhood
that, hopefully, will never reappear in our lifetimes. This post follows:
I visited Warm Springs, Georgia in March of 2010 and saw the Little White House where Roosevelt died, the unfinished portrait
that still sits in the house, and the pools where Roosevelt had found
relief from his polio. Yes, Roosevelt was a disabled man in a time were
disabled people were disrespected and discriminated against - so much
so that Roosevelt had to hide the fact that he depended on a wheelchair
Otherwise, people might have thought he was unfit for office.
That would be totally inconceivable today - but those were very
different times. Still, Franklin Roosevelt had a large role in making
disability acceptable, and gave hope to a lot of people with polio.
Ever hear of the March of Dimes? It started as a movement to find a
cure for polio
At the time of his death, polio
was a feared scourge. I can vaguely remember the panic that was felt
during the summer - the peak time for polio. Parents would even keep
their children away from public swimming pools, as it was believed that
pools were one place you could "catch" polio. As children, we believed
that being near a storm drain could give you polio.
But then everything changed.
A charity called The March of Dimes was
founded by Franklin Roosevelt in 1938.. Roosevelt had a simple idea-
asking Americans to send in a dime, just one dime, to fight polio. The
"march"of dimes helped to finance research, so that the Salk and Sabin
vaccines could be developed. In honor of Roosevelt's fund raising, his
face appears on the dime and has for many years.
Ironically, Roosevelt's polio may have been misdiagnosed - but many people alive today can be grateful for that misdiagnosis.
I was one of those young children in those old black and white photos lining up in schools for their polio shot.
I was a member of the first generation in human history that did not
have to fear polio. And to my son, polio is just a historical
curiosity - although one of his older cousins married a woman who had
polio as a child, and has a noticeable limp to show for it.
I realized, in researching my blog, that I had never published my
photos of Warm Springs, and I hope to fix that in the near future. And
yes, there is still a Roosevelt Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm
If you need a story on how one person can change history, and enrich the
lives of millions, you need look no further than this story.