Speaker's Bureau

How FDR Vanquished Polio

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Few Americans remember that FDR, besides leading our country through the Great Depression and World War II, was also the founder of the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis, better known as the March of Dimes. This charity fought the terrible scourge of polio with both assistance to the stricken and research to find a vaccine, finally working itself out of a job when the Salk Vaccine was perfected in 1955. (It took up the cause of ending birth defects after that.) The March of Dimes enabled anyone to be a polio fighter — all they had to do was give a dime — and became an innovator in philanthropy that all modern charities unconsciously use as a model. This is a lively, personal look at the polio crusade — which continues today to mop up the last of this disease in third world countries. Illustrated lecture.

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Kathryn Smith