"What Ever Happened to Polio"

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August 13th 2007
Published: August 13th 2007
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FDR and Dowdell's KnobFDR and Dowdell's KnobFDR and Dowdell's Knob

Dowdell's Knob was one of FDR's favorite spots for both quiet contemplation and picnics. FDR visited this spot overlooking Pine Mountain valley and on his lst visit visit here he was thinking of the Marines who were fighting on Okinawas and Iwo Jima and he was planning the founding of the United Nations.
“Whatever Happened to Polio”

Roosevelt’s Warm Springs Georgia

I had the pleasure of returning to Warm Springs Georgia as the guest of Warren Williams a member of Peachtree Rotary. Last fall I saw the public side of the complex, the museum, avenue of flags and the little white house. This time I got to see the educational and therapeutic side of Roosevelt’s Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.

August 11th, 2007 marks the official opening of the “What ever happened to Polio?” exhibit at Roosevelt Warm springs. Thanks to PolioPlus and District 6900, fifty thousand dollars was donated to pay for moving the Smithsonian exhibit here.

FDR and Warm Springs were the vanguard of a two pronged attack against the dead epidemic disease, Polio. The first focus was helping the polio patient adapt. It took remarkable ingenuity to develop the technology. The technology developed here was shared world wide and revolutionized lives.

The second focus was a vaccine. FDR was not content treating symptoms. He wanted a vaccine. FDR believed the treatment of Polio victims and the search for a vaccine effort were beyond and government’s ability. So he formed the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. Starting on January
Pine MountainPine MountainPine Mountain

View from Pine Mountain Crest Dowdell;s Knob as Roosevelt would have looked on his last visit. You see his picnic BBQ. Pine Crest is the tallest spot from the crest to the Florida Keys
30, 1934 birthday balls razed a million dollars a year until 1938. From 1934 to 1937 the Warm Springs Foundation received just over 1.4 million dollars.

As the battle evolved FDR founded the National Foundation for infantile Paralysis on January 3, 1938. The new foundation’s mission was “lead, direct and unify the fight” against polio. If you were born in the 40s or before you remember the March of “Dimes” canisters at each check out counters in stores. It came from radio personality Eddie Cantor who called it the “March of Dimes,” and the phrase stuck.

Twenty seven years, three months and nine days later the first vaccine was introduced on the 10th anniversary of FDR’s death. The Salk vaccine did not cure polio, but it did prevent it. The struggle moved to a new phase: The immunization of the entire world.

In 1986 Rotary International became the lead partner in the world immunization effort. The Trustees of the Rotary Foundation recently affirmed that the global eradication of polio is and must remain the premier goal of Rotary International and its Foundation until the day that the world is certified as being rid of the polio virus.

This is the only statue of FDR with his leg braces showing.
PolioPlus is the first and largest internationally coordinated private-sector support of a public health initiative, FDR would be pleased.

By the time this planet is certified Polio virus free, Rotarians will have given over 600 million dollars to make the question, “Whatever happened to Polio: a world wide question.

Additional photos below
Photos: 38, Displayed: 23


Lt. Governor of Georgia Casey CagleLt. Governor of Georgia Casey Cagle
Lt. Governor of Georgia Casey Cagle

The well respected Casey Cagle gave a great speech about those who give hope for a better life. The Warm Srings center does that.
Districgt Governor Bill Woulfin 6900Districgt Governor Bill Woulfin 6900
Districgt Governor Bill Woulfin 6900

Governor Woulfin talked about District 6900 efforts to fight polio. Just that morning they had raised $200,000 for Polio Plus,
Gov. Dick Heyer 6920Gov. Dick Heyer 6920
Gov. Dick Heyer 6920

Governor Heyer talked about supporting PolioPlus. The deaths from polio have gone down from 500000 a year in 1986 when we started PolioPlus, to 2000 last year. But the world is not free yet.
Rotary Foundation Trustee from Decator Alabama, Mark Daniel Maloney.Rotary Foundation Trustee from Decator Alabama, Mark Daniel Maloney.
Rotary Foundation Trustee from Decator Alabama, Mark Daniel Maloney.

PDG, Trustee Maloney talked about the commitment of the Rotary Foundation to wipe out polio.
Ribbon Cutting CeremonyRibbon Cutting Ceremony
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The dignitaries present plus the son of Joas E. Salk cut the ribbon for the Smithsonian display installed by Rotary in the Warm Springs complex.
Polio "Hall of Fame" Jacob von HeinePolio "Hall of Fame" Jacob von Heine
Polio "Hall of Fame" Jacob von Heine

First to describe polio clearly. Author of the first book on the disease, published at Stuttgart, Germany, in 1840
Oskar MedinOskar Medin
Oskar Medin

Swedish scientist who first recognized polio as an acute infection, in a report published in 1890 in Stockhom.
Ivar WickmanIvar Wickman
Ivar Wickman

Swedish pioneer in the study of polio epidemics. In 1907, commentedon the wide prevalence of non-paralytic polio.
Karl LandsteinerKarl Landsteiner
Karl Landsteiner

Viennese physician, who demonstrated that polio can be transmitted to an experimental animal, the monkey. Published paper on subject in 1909..
Thomas M. RiversThomas M. Rivers
Thomas M. Rivers

Dean of Amerian virologists: chairman of the National Foundation committee on vaccination which planned the successful 1954 vaccine field trials.
Charles ArmstrongCharles Armstrong
Charles Armstrong

Public Health Service physicianwho discovered in 1939 that certain strains of polio-virus could be transmitted to cotton rats, greatly simplifying some types of study.
John R. PaulJohn R. Paul
John R. Paul

Yale University virologist, first virfus research grantee of the National Foundation (1938). Contributed to knowledge of how polio is spread.
Albert B. SabinAlbert B. Sabin
Albert B. Sabin

Cincinnati Universtiy scientist and leader in the search for a live virus vaccine for polio. Helped show how the virus reafched the central nervous system.
Thomas Francis, Jr.Thomas Francis, Jr.
Thomas Francis, Jr.

University of Michigan epidemiologist. Director of the evaluation of 1954-55 which demostrated the safety and effectivenessof the Salk vaccine.
Joseh L. MelnickJoseh L. Melnick
Joseh L. Melnick

Yale University scientist now at National Institutes of Health, whose studies of polio in many parts of the world helped clarify the developmeent of immunity in populations exposed to the virus.
Isabel MorganIsabel Morgan
Isabel Morgan

Johns Hopkins University scientist, now at Columbia University, who prepared an expeeriemental vaccine from virus inactivated with formaldehyde that protected monkeys agains paralytic polio.
David BodianDavid Bodian
David Bodian

Johns Hopkins scientist whose studies showed that the virus gets into the blood stream before reaching the central nervous system and therefore coulod be blocked by antibodies in the blood.

14th August 2007

Thank you!!
Dear Kent D. Converse, You have been sent a message from Ray Taylor ============== As the founder of PSA and current Secretary I want to thank you for the excellent piece you have published. Our Chair, Ann Lee Hussey attended the opening ceremony on the 11th and I hope you met her...our Rotary Action Group was the early advocate to preserve the Smithsonian Exhibit in its current for, and we continue to advocate for establishing a permanent, working relationship with Warm Springs to assure the history of polio is preserved and that the heritage of action by Rotary is told by the Rotarians who participated...obviously, we have made a start...our quest is to find the way to work with Rotarians in 6900 and all over the world to see that this history and heritage is preserved and publicized...thank you for your efforts and congratulations on a job well done...
14th August 2007

Interesting to read your article about Rotary helping with polio vaccines. Having grown up in the polio scare times, and knowing people who had the disease, it upsets me a lot when the young mothers come in to register their kids for school and tell me that they don't believe in immunizations. Of course, they are counting on the fact that almost everyone else will be vaccinated, so their kid will not be exposed. I worked in the Central Registry office of the school district thirteen years and still go back as a senior volunteer at busy times of the year (like now for fall registration and then kindergarten registration in the spring). It's hard to believe that summer is almost over - it went too fast! Camilla

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