About the CVPPSG


The Central Virginia Post Polio Support meets quarterly, the first Saturday of March, June, September and December, at a location which is announced in the newsletter and on the front page of the website.

History of the Central Virginia Post-Polio Support Group

This history was created by Carol Ranelli with the help of past newsletters and minutes from general and board meetings…plus the recollections of members.

The Central Virginia Post-Polio Support Group was created because a polio survivor was having baffling symptoms and wondered if others like herself were experiencing similar problems. Thus began Margo Gathright-Dietrich’s search for others who wanted information about these new problems.

Margo founded our support group with four others in July of 1986. They met at Dumbarton Library in Henrico County. In addition to the polio individuals, Sue Hirt, a retired physical therapist and Professor Emeritus of the Medical College of Virginia, was present at that first meeting. Sue had treated polio victims in the late 1940s and early 50s. She continued to be an invaluable source of information for those of us who were too young to remember the original bout with the polio virus.

From that first meeting, our support group grew quickly and met at various locations, including the Adult Day Care Center and the Center for Independent Living. The group met at Sheltering Arms Hospital for many years on the third Thursday evening of the month from 7:00 until 9:00pm.

On August 11, 1988, the group held its first election of officers: Margo Dietrich as president, Bill Pannell as vice president, Pat Skiba as treasurer, Pat Poole as recording secretary, and Dorothy Cole as corresponding secretary. Jack Wilson and Jean Watson were the Program Committee.

Our group made a decision to affiliate itself with Easter Seals Virginia from the beginning and continued to do so until we became a separate non-profit organization in September of 2005. Lila Weisberg was the first director of Easter Seals to work with the support group. She retired in September of 1988 and Jewel Cooke took over as Easter Seals Regional Director and became a member of our board.

Another board member we hold in high esteem was Charley Brower who was our representative with The March of Dimes and promoted our causes to them. Charley first attended our meetings in April of 1988.


For more details on our history, view a timeline of events which chronicles our support group.

Past Presidents

  • Margo Dietrich (Founder) 1988 – 1989
  • Jean Watson 1989 – 1990
  • Mary Wilkinson 1990 – Feb. 1994 (resigned)
  • Carol Ranelli Feb. 1994 – Sept. 1994
  • Henry Holland 1994 – 2000
  • Carol Kennedy 2000 – present