Sheila Smith, who lived on the 7300 block of Taylor St. in Forest Park, was chosen as Miss March of Dimes in 1958. President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, known as March of Dimes, in 1938, based on the President’s request for everyone to contribute a dime to fight polio. The disease was scary as the virus could cause paralysis or even death and major epidemics moved around the world. The inactive polio vaccine (IPV), created by Jonas Salk, was licensed in 1955. In just six years, annual cases, nationally, dropped from 58,000 to 161 cases, a profound accomplishment.

Jill Wagner

Photo: Forest Park Review, Jan. 30, 1958. Miss Sheila Smith, a 19-year-old Proviso High School Senior who contracted polio when she was 14 years old, was selected as Miss March of Dimes in 1958.