Amazing polio story
Please accept my gratitude for the terrific “Amazing Stories of Polio” [February]. Your insert, written and drawn in comic-book style, is a stroke of genius, able to capture the attention of kids and adults alike. In Philadelphia in the summer of 1945, children like me were dropping like flies. I was one of the lucky ones to have lived; many didn’t. And many, like myself, were so devastated with crippling pain and maimed bodies that death would have been a welcome option. Even at the age of 76, my body reminds me daily of what would have been my junior high years when I contracted the virus at the age of 12. Rotarians everywhere should be very proud to have had a major role in polio’s decline. I know I am!
David E. Harris
Grand Island, Neb., USA
Editor’s note: We received an overwhelming response to the illustrated story of polio. Purchase reprints of the Amazing Stories of Polio online.
I really enjoyed the polio feature in the February issue. I learned more about polio from that one article than I had in my entire life!
Petersburg, Alaska, USA
“Amazing Stories of Polio” is exceptional! Your cartoon format takes a complex subject like polio and simplifies it. I am 64 years old and remember growing up with talk about polio, and my parents taking all five children to get our polio shots – ouch! I also grew up reading and collecting comic books and newspaper comics. Beetle Bailey was my all-time favorite, but after reading “Amazing Stories of Polio” and looking at the exceptional artwork, I must say it ranks at the top with my favorite. I am now addicted – keep this series coming in this same format in our excellent magazine.
Louis R.F. Preysz III
Lexington, Va., USA
“Amazing Stories of Polio” brought back childhood memories. As a first grader, I was part of the 1954 field trials of the new vaccine. Unlike the child in your cartoon who said, “I could hardly feel it,” I still remember the shot. It was the most painful injection I ever endured; even the teachers walked around the rest of the school day holding their arms and wincing. Our parents literally had to drag us to the second injection, which we indeed hardly felt. Perhaps we were part of the group who initially got a dummy vaccine. It was well worth it, though, as the next year the swimming pools and movie theaters reopened, and summer was summer again.
Edward C. Rowland
Odessa, Texas, USA
Editor’s note: We had several readers write in with their memories of the painful polio shot. The “I could hardly feel it” quote in our story came from news reports from the time, which featured six-year-old Randy Kerr, at Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Va., when he was injected with the Salk vaccine.
In 1954, as detailed in your illustrated story about polio, the first human trials of the Salk vaccine took place in Leetsdale, Pa., USA, at the D.T. Watson Home for Crippled Children (yes, that was the name at the time). At the age of nine, I was a participant in these trials. There were dozens and dozens of families with children taking part, hoping the trials would lead to a positive outcome and the prevention of this dreaded disease. Now, 55 years later, I am pleased to be a part of an organization that is about to eliminate this disease worldwide. It feels as if I have come full circle.
Eric W. Blackhurst
Estes Park, Colo., USA
I read “Amazing Stories of Polio” with great interest. I was a student physical therapist at the D.T. Watson School of Physiatrics in Leetsdale, Pa., USA, in 1965-66, mentioned in your article. I realize your article was in cartoon form, but I must tell you that Dr. Salk’s lab was windowless and very small. The nurses’ uniforms were definitely calf length and not so form fitting, and they had cap sleeves with buttons like the military nurses of the era. The crutches were wood, the leg braces had rigid orthopedic shoes, and the uprights were inserted into metal boxes in the heels of the shoes, all in contrast to your cartoon.
I commend you on the presentation of the history of polio and the transmission explanations. I hope the cartoon motivates more clubs to make the requested contributions to the [eradication] initiative. Polio profoundly influenced my professional career of 40 years.
Carol H. Lehman
Prince Frederick, Md., USA
Thank you for the wonderful article in the February issue [“Let’s roll”]. It was an honor to be featured, and I am so proud to be a Rotarian and to share my story.
I would like to point out one correction to this article. I chose not to have my mother enter a care facility when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Instead, my partner and I cared for her in our home for seven years, which was a joyous experience for all of us despite the difficulties that came with this decision. Of all my accomplishments, I am most proud of this aspect of my life.
Eugene, Ore., USA
The February cover is probably Rotary’s sexiest cover ever. After seeing Katherine Jenkins’ photo, I was compelled to read Chris Moss’ interview with her. Not only is Katherine a beauty, she is a very likeable person.
San Antonio, Texas, USA
I have received The Rotarian for over 35 years. Not only is the [February] cover your most beautiful ever, it is one of the most beautiful covers of any magazine I have seen. Beauty and glamour. Wow!
DeLand, Fla., USA
When this magazine [February] arrived at my house, my wife’s immediate reaction was, “What message is Rotary sending about attending conventions?” I think you could have used an attractive headshot and sent a much more positive message about the convention.
Donald W. Stansloski
Findlay, Ohio, USA
Editor’s note: We thought our message was clear: The chance to hear a performance by an opera superstar is just one more reason to attend the RI Convention.
For once, as a Rotarian of 13 years, I read your February issue almost cover to cover! With the catchy front cover and what [Katherine Jenkins] will do for Rotary, the numerous clear photos and interesting articles, and the informative calendar, the magazine looks like it can now compete for readership with Time or Newsweek . Keep up the good and creative work!
Quezon City, The Philippines
I want to convey my appreciation for the RI president’s letter in the February issue. Simple, straightforward, and useful, it conveys an inspirational account of the golden rule in action.
F. Lynn Blystone
Bakersfield, Calif., USA
To the last pint
I was flabbergasted to read that English pubs are closing at the rate of 36 a week [Up Front, February]. I have fond memories of pub crawls in the cities and in the heart of England. English pubs have lost their appeal thanks to the new licensing hours and the strict drinking laws. In the past, driving 50 miles to taste a real ale in a free house was a treat. Bon courage to Nick Paul and his fellow Rotarians.
For the past 14 years, I have been blessed to be the president of Fontbonne University, a Catholic institution of higher education founded and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The how-to articles [January] on subjects such as avoiding offense, getting things done, making a speech, and fundraising without fear are outstanding! In fact, they could compose a university course in effective, efficient, and ethical management and leadership.
Dennis C. Golden
St. Louis, Mo., USA
The recipient of the 2007-08 Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service from District 9630 (Australia) was Patrick V. Galligan. Anthony Fox received the 2008-09 award for that district. Also, we have come to believe that former Turkish President Kenan Evren administered a vaccine as part of the PolioPlus program in Turkey two weeks before oral polio vaccine developer Albert Sabin did in Paraguay’s first National Immunization Day in September 1985.