Polio Place

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Admission Papers for Bonnie (Moore) Levitan

Bonnie E. Levitan; 1951; Children's Hospital of Michigan; Detroit, Michigan

It was August, 1951, and I had just turned 11. My pregnant mother, new stepfather, three year-old sister and I had just returned from a trip to Scranton, Pennsylvania. My mother noted that I had a fever, but assured me I would feel better in the morning. Climbing the stairs to the bedroom was exhausting and I discovered my aching muscles would not allow me to climb into the upper bunk.

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Robert M. Eiben, MD; 1955; Toomey Pavilion, Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Pediatrician Robert M. Eiben recalls his experience working in the respiratory care and rehabilitation center at Toomey Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio:

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Phone call between Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. D. Armin Fischer

D. Armin Fischer, MD; 1983; Los Angeles, California

As a volunteer for Gini Laurie and the Rehabilitation Gazette (later GINI and now Post-Polio Health International), I attended the first post-polio conference in 1981. Laurie organized this conference after polio survivors were starting to report new medical problems and were looking for explanations. D. Armin Fischer, MD, Chief of the Chest Medicine Service at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center (now Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital) in Downey, California, was asked to discuss new breathing problems of polio survivors that he was seeing.

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Nancy Hotz Caverly; Age 17; 1953; Tulsa, Oklahoma

July 9, 1953
I was playing a match in the Oklahoma Junior Girls Golf Tournament in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I won the match while walking 13 holes with severe pain in my legs and back. I was seventeen years old, just graduated from Tulsa Central High School. My family returned to Tulsa that afternoon; it was a rough trip for me, lying across my two sisters in the back seat of the car,

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The Reluctant Poster Child

Elaine Burns; Age 5, 1957; Boston, Massachusetts

I remember the day that this photo was taken. I was probably five years old. I was being considered for the March of Dimes Poster Child. I’m not sure if it was on a local or national level.

The family folklore is that I was not chosen because my teeth were not perfect. I allegedly had been given some sort of medication that had affected my baby teeth.

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Easter Sunday

David G. Oakley; 1952, age 5; Exira, Iowa

This photo was taken on Easter Sunday, 1952, at my maternal grandparents’ home in Exira, Iowa. This was 3 years after I contracted polio. My parents were always attentive and loving throughout that ordeal, through all of my growing-up years, and for all the years following. However, unknown to me for decades, was just how much of a strain those first years placed upon each of them, in so many ways.

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Lauro Halstead

Lauro Halstead, age 18, 1954-55, New York

Photo #1
I came down with polio in the summer of 1954 at the age of 18. I was in an iron lung for 1 to 2 weeks and had significant paralysis of my right arm and weakness of the other three extremities. I was hospitalized for approximately six months.

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Broken Arm & Saddle Shoes

Joan L. Headley; Age 11, 1958; Ohio

Our family didn't take many pictures in the 1950s, but breaking an arm was an occasion. In our farm community, boys broke their arms, not girls.

Looking at the photograph today, I am reminded of two things: my mother and saddle shoes.

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David Kelly

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California

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Correspondence from the White House

Jean Fox Csaposs; 1934, 1941; New Jersey

I contracted polio in August 1931 at the age of five months. My father, an Englishman, was a chief steward on British passenger liners in those years. He had an engaging personality and often made friends with passengers. In 1934, he befriended Frederick Pond, and I evidently was the subject of one their conversations. Mr. Pond intervened on my behalf by writing to the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation.

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