The March of Dimes

Founded in 1938 as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, the March of Dimes raised money for polio research and to help provide care for those who had contracted the disease. It was the popular entertainer Eddie Cantor who came up with the idea of calling the fundraising drive the March of Dimes with the idea that if millions of people just gave a little, it could really add up. And that is exactly what happened. It wasn't the only charity involved with helping polio kids. There were many others. For example the Variety Club of Miami funded the construction of a new hospital that would be dedicated to caring for polio kids. They opened their doors on March 20, 1950. On that day 15 kids were transferred from Jackson Memorial Hospital. I was one of them.
Miami Herald-crop

I found this news clipping along with several others and many telegrams and letters in a small box my mother had saved, and which I did not open until after she died. It is a story of many people coming together to help my parents and to help me, most of them total strangers. Reading the clippings and letters became a very emotional experience, that I have a hard time explaining. It was a very special time in American history. We had come through a devastating world war as a victorious and intact nation because Americans had all pulled together. There was a spirit of helping one another, a sense that we were in the fight together. That same spirit, it seems to me, was the driving force behind the March of Dimes. It was a national effort. And it was individual people giving of themselves. The local chapter of the Variety Club built that small hospital, and the March of Dimes paid for my care.

Days before this picture was taken, I had been loaded (in stretcher) aboard an empty C-46 cargo plane in the Dutch West Indies along with my mother and older brother. Pan American Airlines sent the plane on this mission as an act of charity. My only memory from that year is being put on that plane. More on that Flight.