Saturday, February 23, 2013

The March Of Dimes




On this day, February 23 in 1954, a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Poliomyelitis, also called infantile paralysis, based on its propensity to affect children. was a highly contagious disease that emerged in terrifying outbreaks and seemed impossible to stop. Attacking the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system, polio caused muscle deterioration, paralysis and even death. Even as medicine vastly improved in the first half of the 20th century in the Western world, polio still struck, affecting mostly children but sometimes adults as well. The most famous victim of a 1921 outbreak in America was future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a young politician. The disease spread quickly, leaving his legs permanently paralyzed.

Victim of Infantile Paralysis

In the late 1940s, the March of Dimes, a grassroots organization founded with President Roosevelt's help to find a way to defend against polio.

The March Of Dimes
I well remember seeing this display of a charitable plea on virtually every retail store's counter, right next to the cash register. And believe me, even a dime back in those days was a good deal of money.

Here is another display

The organization enlisted Dr. Jonas Salk, head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Salk found that polio had as many as 125 strains of three basic types, and that an effective vaccine needed to combat all three. By growing samples of the polio virus and then deactivating, or "killing" them by adding a chemical called formalin, Salk developed his vaccine, which was able to immunize without infecting the patient.

Dr. Jonas Salk -- 1954
Mass inoculations began in 1954, and by August 1955 some 4 million shots had been given. There is still no cure for polio once it has been contracted, but the use of vaccines has virtually eliminated polio in the United States. Globally, there are now around 250,000 cases each year, mostly in developing countries. The World Health Organization has set a goal of eradicating polio from the entire world.

Note: I have never been immunized for polio. I left high school just before the serum was made available in my hometown, and the institution-based process never caught up to me.



charity [CHAYR-uh-tee]
1. Provision of help or relief to the poor; almsgiving.
2. Something given to help the needy; alms.
3. An institution, organization, or fund established to help the needy.
4. Benevolence or generosity toward others or toward humanity.
5. Indulgence or forbearance in judging others.
mercy, leniency, clemency, charity

These nouns mean humane and kind, sympathetic, or forgiving treatment of or disposition toward others.

The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver.

Most forms of charity are concerned with providing food, water, clothing, and shelter, and tending the ill, but other actions may be performed as charity: visiting the imprisoned or the homebound, dowries for poor women, ransoming captives, educating orphans.



W.E.B. DuBois
 Born Feb 23, 1868
Died Aug 27, 1963

William Edward Burghardt "W. E. B." Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor. Born in western Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a tolerant community and experienced little racism as a child. After graduating from Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.

Du Bois was a prolific author. His collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, was a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction era.

The Souls Of Black Folk can be read here

Born Feb 23, 1965
Age:   47 years old

Kristin Landen Davis is an American actress. She first rose to prominence and achieved fame for playing the role of Brooke Armstrong on Melrose Place and went on to achieve greater success as Charlotte York Goldenblatt on HBO's Sex and the City.

 Born Feb 23, 1951
Age:  61 years old

Patricia Castle Richardson is an American television and film actress best known for her portrayal of Jill Taylor on the sitcom Home Improvement.

 Born Feb 23, 1940
Age:  72 years old

Peter Henry Fonda is an American actor. He is the son of Henry Fonda, brother of Jane Fonda, and father of Bridget and Justin Fonda (by first wife Susan Brewer, stepdaughter of Noah Dietrich). Fonda is an icon of the counterculture of the 1960s. In 1968, Fonda produced and starred in Easy Rider, the classic film for which he is best known.


A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.
--Jack London

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