Easterseals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs live better lives for more than 100 years. Locally, Easterseals Rehabilitation Center has served the Ohio Valley since 1937.
In 1907, Ohio-businessman Edgar Allen lost his son in a streetcar accident. The lack of adequate medical services available to save his son prompted Allen to sell his business and begin a fund-raising campaign to build a hospital in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Through this new hospital, Allen was surprised to learn that children with disabilities were often hidden from public view. Inspired by this discovery, in 1919 Allen founded what became known as the National Society for Crippled Children, the first organization of its kind.
In the spring of 1934, the organization launched its first Easter "seals" campaign to raise money for its services. To show their support, donors placed the seals on envelopes and letters. Cleveland cartoonist J.H. Donahey designed the first seal. Donahey based the design on a concept of simplicity because those served by the charity asked "simply for the right to live a normal life."
The lily - a symbol of spring - was officially incorporated as Easterseals' logo in 1952 for its association with resurrection and new life and has appeared on each seal since.
The overwhelming public support for the Easter "seals" campaign triggered a nationwide expansion of the organization and a swell of grassroots efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. By 1967, the Easter "seal" was so well recognized, the organization formally adopted the name "Easter Seals."
In 2015, the national Easter Seals organization rebranded its identity. Now known as Easterseals, the reimagined single name works to strip away misperceptions around “Easter” and “seals” while paying tribute to the organization’s legacy.
Each year, Easterseals offers help, hope, and answers to more than a million individuals living with disabilities and special needs.
Easterseals also advocates for the passage of legislation to help people with disabilities achieve independence, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Passed in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against anyone who has a mental or physical disability, guaranteeing the civil rights of people with disabilities.
At the core of the Easterseals organization is a common passion for caring, shared by its 23,000 staff members and thousands of volunteers, and by those who support its mission. This heartfelt commitment to helping people with disabilities and their families is what Easterseals is all about.