The true hero of Oshinksy's book is Basil O'Connor, FDR's law partner who became head of what we now know as the March of Dimes.O'Connor
was a PR master, taking a somewhat rare disease and turning it into America's medical battleground.The red AIDS ribbon, the breast cancer walks, the Jerry Lewis Telethon - all are traveling the road cut by O'Connor
. His National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis
(March of Dimes) became by far the largest medical charity in terms of money raised, thanks to his
strategy of involving everyday folks who could afford to give up a few dimes.When vaccine trials threatened to stall, it was O'Connor
who managed to soothe fears.When scientists feuded, O'Connor
mediated.When the American people needed to be massaged, O'Connor
applied the oil by going on the radio or seeking out the papers. O'Connor
gave the American people a mission they believed in.Whether it was fueled by PR or not, that mission succeeded.
then asked if there were any final issues to address.