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Donald Anderson had contracted polio at age 5 in 1943 and became the 'darling' of the Shriner's Hospital

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 - The first March of Dimes poster featured Donald Anderson of Prineville.Franklin D. Roosevelt, an adult victim of polio, founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which he later renamed the March of Dimes Foundation, on Jan. 3, 1938.

It became known as the March of Dimes because an appeal was made by Roosevelt for the general public to help fund research. A celebrity urged the public to send dimes to the White House. The public responded by sending 2,680,000 dimes and thousands of dollars in donations. Research eventually led to a vaccination for polio being developed.

After Roosevelt's death, the March of Dimes Foundation decided to have a national effort for a poster campaign to promote donations. In 1946, the foundation began its first poster campaign. After a nationwide search for a campaign child, Donald Anderson, age 6, from Prineville, was selected. Donald had contracted polio at age 5 in 1943. Donald was born on Oct. 1, 1940. His parents lived in Prineville, and his father worked for the local lumber industry.

He was recommended as the poster child by a Portland-based Shiner's Hospital. He had become the "darling" of the Shiner's Hospital. He had first entered the Doernbecher Memorial Hospital in Portland for Children after contracting the disease on Sept. 4, 1943. He was later moved to the Shiner's Hospital for Disabled Children on Sept. 7. He was treated there until he was discharged on April 28, 1944. Afterward, he could walk unsupported and completely recovered.

It was an immense honor to be selected as the first poster child for the campaign.

The 1946 campaign occurred from Jan. 14-31. Two posters were developed with his image. Donald was also sent on a nationwide tour to promote the campaign.

After contracting polio, Donald underwent orthopedic and physical therapy treatment. The posters show him before and after treatment. He had to wear braces on his neck and back and a splint on his right arm during his rehabilitation.

Donald grew up and began work for the postal service in the Seattle, Washington, area and served there for over 25 years. He died on Feb. 27, 2014, at the age of 73.


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