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<p>This was linked to me today and it is truly truly heartbreaking.  I thought I'd share it. </p>
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<p><a href="http://dianastaresinicdeane.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/lessons-from-a-kansas-graveyard-what-a-1903-outbreak-of-diphtheria-can-teach-us-today/" target="_blank">http://dianastaresinicdeane.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/lessons-from-a-kansas-graveyard-what-a-1903-outbreak-of-diphtheria-can-teach-us-today/</a></p>
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<p>James and Anna O'Marra had 9 children, 8 of them died from diphtheria.  Their story is truly tragic. </p>
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<p>"<span style="color:rgb(68,68,68);">On April 10, nine-year-old Julia O’Marra was taken down with respiratory “black” diphtheria. As the bacteria grew thick dark membranes around her tonsils and throat, she grew weak, gasping for air, until the membrane completely blocked her airway. On the morning of Tuesday, April 14, Julia suffocated to death. She was buried the same afternoon." </span></p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(68,68,68);">Four days later, her 13 year old sister Anastasia died early morning.  That night, her 4 year old brother James died at 11pm, followed by his sister Ellen (called Nellie) who died early Sunday morning.  They were burried in the same coffin Sunday afternoon. </span></p>
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<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321303/width/500/height/700"><img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="321303" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321303/width/500/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 500px; height: 229px"></a></p>
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<p>The next day, her brother William and his 6 year old sister Hanora (nick named Nora) passed away.  They were burried in the same casket later that afternoon. </p>
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<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321304/width/500/height/700"><img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="321304" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321304/width/500/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 500px; height: 219px"></a></p>
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<p>"<span style="color:rgb(68,68,68);">James and Anna were beside themselves with grief and worry. Anna grew physically ill herself, and it was feared that she, too, had contracted diphtheria from her children. While the parents looked on, the local doctor, S.P. Reser, administered anti-toxin, a therapy that had only been in use since the late 1890s, to the three remaining children. He was too late. Maggie, the six-month-old baby, died Monday night." </span></p>
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<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321308/width/500/height/700"><img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="321308" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321308/width/500/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 500px; height: 462px"></a></p>
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<p>(Margaret "Maggie" O'Marra)</p>
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<p>They had two children left, Mary and Lizzie, who appeared to be responding to the treatment, and appeared to be recovering.   Mary died on May 5th. </p>
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<p>11 year old Lizzie was the only remaining child out of a family of 11.  She would outlive her siblings by nearly 6 decades. </p>
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<p><a class="H-lightbox-open" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321307/width/500/height/700"><img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="321307" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321307/width/500/height/700/flags/LL" style="; width: 500px; height: 288px"></a></p>
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<p>The O'Marra family plot. </p>
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<p>The author ends the piece by saying "<span style="color:rgb(68,68,68);font-size:13px;line-height:1.5em;">When I hear of someone arguing against the benefits of vaccinations, I want to say, “Before you make up your mind, let me show you something.” Then I want to take them out to a local cemetery. “This,” I want to say, “This is why we have vaccines. Because I believe in my heart the O’Marras would have given anything to have protected their children from this. They would have given anything to have had children who lived full lives.”</span></p>
<p style="border:0px;color:rgb(68,68,68);vertical-align:baseline;">I believe the O’Marras would have given anything for their children to have more than the occasional stranger standing over their graves, wondering what awful tragedy befell them in 1903."</p>
<p style="border:0px;color:rgb(68,68,68);vertical-align:baseline;">Yes. That. Times a million. </p>
<p style="border:0px;color:rgb(68,68,68);vertical-align:baseline;">The author also provides a link to graves of children. <a href="http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=166277" target="_blank">http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=166277</a></p>
 
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There was a smallpox cemetery near where I lived as a child. An entire hilltop dotted with tiny, hasty graves, with just a name, dates and "POX". Probably 30 of them, in a very small farming community, dated within a month, mostly kids.
 
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<p>Saint Vincent Cemetery, Pennsylvania</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321711/width/500/height/700"><img alt="" class="lightbox-enabled" data-id="321711" data-type="61" src="http://www.mothering.com/community/content/type/61/id/321711/width/500/height/700" style="; width: 500px; height: 700px"></a></p>
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<p>12 children dead, hard to even imagine.  I believe the 5 that died in 1890 succumbed to a diphtheria outbreak.   This picture also demonstrates quite well why vaccines help control population levels.  How often do you see a family of 12 children these days? </p>
 

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Down the street from me there's a family of nine! Then again, I live in Alaska, where there are plenty of folks (mostly religious) who have very large families so it is almost normal to me. I know at least two of those families I know don't vaccinate. They're homeschool families and one of them is out in the less-populated area. Alaska isn't a densely populated state so illness like this isn't terribly prevalent, but the vaccinated population I think does assist the unvaccinated population in helping to ward off those conditions.
 

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<p>In Scotland, pretty much every town or village has a historical graveyard. On every single one of them you see this. EVERY SINGLE ONE.</p>
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<p>That is what life was like for many, many parents. Not so many lost ALL of their children, but it was common to lose a few to VPDs. Vaccines are one of the greatest invention of all times.</p>
 
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