Posted by: Ron DuBour | January 31, 2012

American Heroes~JONAS EDWARD SALK (1914-1995)~by rldubour


 

 

JONAS EDWARD SALK (1914-1995)

 

In nineteen-hundred-and-fourteen
In New York City he was born.
A son named Jonas Edward Salk
To help others he would be sworn.

For Dora and Daniel B. Salk
Jonas was the first son of three.
He wanted to be a lawyer
But, Mom discouraged him to be.

She asked him what his reason was
And he would never win a case.
You cannot win an argument
You’re too timid in the first place.

She pushed him into medicine
And this was clearly her advice.
Now at an age where he had learned
When Mother spoke she was concise.

He received his first diploma
A Bachelor of Science degree.
From City College of New York
Now with Mother he did agree.

Then the College of Medicine
At New York University.
In June of nineteen-thirty-nine
He earned his medical degree.

At college he met Ms. Calfin
They were married in thirty-nine.
They had three children all were boys
In time their marriage would decline.

A well known disease in that time
His quest to find a cure would begin.
He started as a staff physician at,
Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

In forty-seven moved to Pittsburgh.
Jonas developed and refined
As he led the Virus Research Lab
A successful cure they did find.

He opened the Salk Institute
For Biological studies.
Of molecular biology
Genetics and antibodies.

In nineteen-hundred-fifty-two
There were sixty-thousand cases.
The vaccine became available
It almost completely erases.

Nineteen-hundred-fifty-seven
Vaccine to Europe was exported.
In nineteen-hundred and seventy-nine
Only ten cases were reported.

His dream complete and successful
A cure for polio was found.
The lives he saved from this disease
A hero known the world around.

 

 

  AUTHOR NOTES*

 

Born, October 28, 1914; Died, June 23, 1995
During his life, he received many awards and honors: The Lasker Award (1956), The Bruce Memorial Award (1958), The Jawaharlal Nehru Award (1975), Congressional Gold Medal of Honor and Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977).
While at college he met his future wife, Donna Lindsay Calfin, whom he married on June 9, 1939. They had three children: Peter, Darrell, and Jonathan. In 1947, he moved to Pittsburgh, where he led the Virus Research lab at the University of Pittsburgh. During the 1950s, he developed, tested, and refined the first successful polio vaccine. In 1955 he began immunizations at Pittsburgh’s Arsenal Elementary School in the Lawrenceville neighborhood and made international news as the man who beat polio. In 1968, he was divorced, and in 1970 Salk married Francoise Gilot.
Dr. Salk’s last years were spent searching for a vaccine against AIDS. Jonas Salk died on June 23, 1995. He was 80 years old; he died in LaJolle, California.
The vaccine was instrumental in the near eradication of a once widely-feared disease. Polio’s outbreak in 1916 left 6000 dead and 27,000 paralyzed. In 1952, 57,628 cases were recorded. After the vaccine became available, polio cases in the U.S. dropped by 85-90 percent in only two years. In 1979, only 10 cases were reported.

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