SEPTEMBER 11, 1946
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I forgot to tell you that, last Saturday morning, a committee of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows of New York came here to present me with the resolutions which the annual convention at Troy, N.Y., had passed in memory of my husband. I had hoped to go to Troy to receive these resolutions but, when I was unable to go, they very kindly came here and then went over to my husband's grave to place a wreath.
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When I was talking the other day with the staff caring for the blind people at the camp in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., they told me of one of their difficulties. Frequently people want to leave their eyes, after death, for the use of sightless people. If the optic nerve is not affected, it is possible apparently, within a short period after death, to transplant the window of the eye and have it serve a living person. But sometimes the families, even though the dead person may have desired this, will refuse consent. This is natural, I suppose, but where such great happiness can be brought to a living human being, it seems too bad for a family to thwart the desire of their loved ones to be helpful even after death.
In the course of the last month, I have heard of a group which is putting on a campaign to raise $50,000 to establish two clinics in New York City for the treatment of those suffering from a disease of the eye called retinitis pigmentosa. A remedial treatment has been discovered by a Russian doctor, Vladimir Filatov, and therefore the National Council to Combat Blindness is working in cooperation with the American-Soviet Medical Society, which is a purely scientific body.
In time, the National Council to Combat Blindness hopes to establish clinics, strategically placed throughout the United States, where this treatment will be provided under the guidance of competent ophthalmologists. They estimate that about 35,000 people in this country are afflicted with this ailment at the present time.
They also wish to promote further research into remedial treatment for other diseases which cause blindness. Finally, they hope to facilitate the transportation of individuals to the clinics when they have a condition threatening blindness and to arrange for the patients' maintenance and shelter during the course of the treatment.
This seems a very vital service. And anyone who has seen any of the young people who were blinded in the war will be anxious to have all possible research done which might restore their sight.