o one embodied the spirit and vision of Ontario March of Dimes more than WWII flying veteran, Wade Hampton. At age 31, on the same day the polio vaccine was announced, Hampton was diagnosed with the disease and taken to hospital. A born fighter, Hampton refused to be held back by the effects of polio and recovered to create an extraordinary career and a rich personal life.
Hampton would eventually become Chief Executive Officer of Operation Reliance Inc., a trail-blazing program that helped people with disabilities secure regular employment. Additionally, Hampton served on the March of Dimes Board of Directors from 1983 to 1985, guiding the organization as a volunteer and as president. In later years, he was made a Lifetime Member of the Board and the Executive Committee.
In the spirit of Hampton’s commitment and in cooperation with the Hampton family, March of Dimes established the Wade Hampton Memorial Fund. The income earned is used to provide bursaries to people with a disability.
Celebrating over 65 years of service at March of Dimes Canada
In 1949, in an effort to find a cure for the polio virus, mothers across Canada joined a North America-wide fundraising effort. These dedicated volunteers, known as the Marching Mothers®, went door-to-door collecting donations of 'just a dime' to donate to the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitis (sic) for research for a cure to polio.
In 1951, the Canadian Foundation for Poliomyelitis was granted use of the name 'Ontario March of Dimes'. Funds raised went to support research into the cure for polio.
In 1955, the polio vaccine created by Dr. Jonas Salk proved effective in limited test trials. With the threat of polio greatly diminished, Ontario March of Dimes began funding assistive devices for people who had contracted the polio virus, as well as providing programs focused primarily on rehabilitation and job training for polio survivors. Click here to learn more about the history of March of Dimes Canada.