March of Dimes & Salk Institute: where cures begin

Posted at 9:40 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 00:49:46-04

 LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The work of Jonas Salk helped cure polio 63 years ago, when the polio vaccine was created. The vaccine changed countless lives, changing the nation. 

Salk's work pushed further though, helping to create the March of Dimes. An organization that continues to work with the Salk Insitute in La Jolla - so it's researchers can one day eradicate other diseases. 

10News Anchor Steve Atkinson spoke with polio survivor Dennis Nutter about his experiences with the disease as a child in the 1940s. 

"I was five-years-old in 1948. I just remember being extremely tired. I couldn't get up and walk," Nutter said. "Finally, I was just bedridden. The town doctor just said, 'let's just take him to the hospital and with a spinal tap they said it was polio.'"

Professor Martin Hetzer is the vice president and chief science officer of the Salk Institute. 

"The March of Dimes is called the March of Dimes because it was literally...many, very small contributions that allowed people like Jonas Salk to pursue their science," he said. "And in his case, it led to the eradication of and the elimination of polio."

The discovery saved millions of lives. 

"There are so many things that they, children today, don't have to endure that my generation had to," Nutter said. "All the diseases, tetanus, typhoid, smallpox that's a big one, polio. They're all being eradicated one by one."

10News Anchor Steve Atkinson:
"The cure for polio was such a huge breakthrough, do you envision something so profound in our lifetimes like a cure for cancer or even something like Alzheimer's?"

Professor Martin Hetzer:
"Jonas Salk's vision is really nicely captured in a very famous quote. He said, 'hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who make dreams into reality.' 
I think this (institute) is not just a place for us; this is not just a building for us, this is the embodiment of this vision that we live every day." 

 Join the March of Dimes in San Diego County: 
You can help Salk Institute researchers this weekend. One of their objectives is to eradicate childhood illnesses and premature birth for the March of Dimes. 

10News will walk this Sunday for healthy babies in Oceanside at Buchanon park at 8 a.m.
If you can't make it then, we'll have another walk at Balboa Park the following weekend on Saturday, April 28.