A history of the March of Dimes

Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) and lifelong friend and political advisor,
Basil O’Connor counting dimes sent in to the White House for the
March of Dimes, 1944. O’Connor helped establish the foundation.         


Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an adult victim of polio, established the
National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which he later renamed
the March of Dimes Foundation, on January 3, 1938. A predominantly childhood disease in the early 20th century, polio wreaked havoc
among American children every summer. The virus, which affects
the central nervous system, flourished in contaminated food and
water and was easily transmitted. Those who survived the disease usually suffered from debilitating paralysis into their adult lives. In
1921, at the relatively advanced age of 39, Roosevelt contracted
polio and lost the use of his legs. With the help of the media, his
Secret Service and careful event planning, Roosevelt managed to
keep his disease out of the public eye, yet his personal experience inspired in him an empathy with the handicapped and prompted him
to the found the March of Dimes.

March of Dimes | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming  Radio, News

Roosevelt Dime - Forest Lawn

March of Dimes Inc. - GuideStar Profile

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