AUGUST 13, 1954
HYDE PARK, Thursday—The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis is in serious financial difficulties. Because of the high costs of the polio vaccine trials and the expanded gamma globulin program, funds for patient care are dangerously reduced. Yet all over the country families of polio patients are depending upon the National Foundation for payment of hospital bills. Hospitals in many places are unable to meet their payrolls because chapters of the Foundation owe them such large sums.
To meet this situation, and to keep the prevention and research programs of the National Foundation going at the same time, an emergency March of Dimes campaign will be held, starting Monday, August 16th, and running through the rest of this month. The need is for $20,000,000. This was the sum by which the January March of Dimes drive fell short.
It is quite an undertaking, this March of Dimes in August. Volunteers, who ran the January drive and who, in many places, participated in the vaccine field trials as well, had planned well-earned vacations. The usual sources of manpower and womanpower (clubs, organizations, schools, colleges) are at rest for the dog days. Yet the effort must be made—and is being made—because, if the money is not forthcoming, this year's polio patients will not receive all the help they need.
People are rallying to the cause, giving up their vacations, turning their play periods into summertime fund-raising activities. This kind of service, involving long hours of addressing envelopes and organizing mothers' marches, demonstrates the real devotion of people to the March of Dimes cause.
I understand that a new segment of society is participating actively in this emergency drive—the teenagers. They have organized TAP brigades in many places (Teens Against Polio) and will "tap at doors" of neighbors, collecting funds. They also are putting on parties and sales to raise money for the emergency. In one place, they are having as many as 1,000 block parties—one-day affairs where lemonade and home-made cookies are sold.
This is heart-warming, indeed, at a time when the very word "teens" brings to mind those ugly words "juvenile delinquents." Of course we all realize that the vast majority of teenagers are sound citizens, and that it is the under-privileged, neglected and maladjusted among them who make the juvenile-delinquent headlines. But it is good to know that many teenagers are so interested in the welfare of their contemporaries, among whom polio so frequently strikes, that they will take time out of their holiday season to work for this good cause.
Since it seems that we are now on the road to polio prevention, it would be heartbreaking if the National Foundation program were damaged or slowed by lack of funds. I am sure all of us will want to support the emergency March of Dimes to make sure that the hopeful work goes on to eliminate this disease and that patients are cared for in the meantime.