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Breath Takes: Fall/Winter 1998

Fall/Winter, 1998
Vol. 5, No. 1

This is a portion of the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County's 1998 Breath Takes. ?If you would like to receive a complete copy, please call the American Lung Association at
or (800) LUNG-USA.

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The story of Christmas Seals? began in 1871 when a young doctor named Edward Livingston Trudeau was diagnosed as having tuberculosis (TB). He threw aside all his plans and decided to spend his remaining time in the serenity of a cottage in northern New York State.

The quiet, peaceful surroundings in the mountains were conducive to long hours of rest. Gradually, he became convinced that TB could be cured with proper bed rest, good nourishment, fresh air and lots of sunshine. In 1884, the now fully recovered doctor opened the first TB hospital, later known as a sanatorium, in the United States.

By 1907, TB sanatoriums were springing up around the country, but most were makeshift and could only care for a few patients at a time. One of them, a small shack on the banks of the Brandywine River in Delaware, was in desperate financial straits. It was about to close its doors forever unless $300 could be found to keep it going.

Joseph Wales, one of the doctors serving the hospital, contacted his cousin Emily Bissell to raise the needed money. She was active with the American Red Cross and had fundraising experience. Emily learned about a Danish man who sold seals during the Christmas season to raise funds for fighting TB in Denmark. She sketched a design-a Red Cross centered in a half wreath of holly above the words "Merry Christmas."

Emily borrowed $40 from friends and had 50,000 Christmas Seals printed. The Seals were placed in small envelopes and sold for a penny each at the post office.

Selling the Seals for a penny apiece wasn't easy, but it was the only way to keep the Brandywine shack going. Emily started her own one-woman campaign to emphasize how donating to Christmas Seals would help fight the battle against TB. She spoke to all sorts of groups, working overtime to make her campaign a success.

High public officials, including President Teddy Roosevelt, endorsed the campaign, and by the time the holiday season was over, $3,000 had been raised-ten times the amount needed.

In the early 1900's, with Emily Bissell leading the national campaign and an army of American Lung Association volunteers across the country promoting them, Christmas Seals became a cherished American tradition. Over the years, Christmas Seals have evolved as a symbol of support and encouragement for people dedicated to helping those with lung disease. That tradition continues today.

You can join the Christmas Seal tradition by supporting the 1998 Christmas Seal Campaign with a gift-just as compassionate Americans have been doing for over 90 years. To join in the tradition, contact the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County at (323) 935-LUNG because...
When You Can't Breathe, Nothing Else Matters?.

(Updated 12/15/98)

When You Can't Breathe, Nothing Else Matters ?
The mission of the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County
is to prevent and eliminate lung disease
and to improve the quality of life and health of those with lung disease.
Your contributions to Christmas Seals? and Chanukah Seals? help make the difference.

For more information on lung health, programs, and special events,
call ? ? (or ? ; ? ; ?1-800-LUNG-USA), ? or send us email.
? 1999 American Lung Association of Los Angeles County

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