The Inspiring Story of Easter Seals: More Than Just a Pretty Lily

You’ve probably seen the seen the small stamp-like decals of a beautiful lily on a card or letter at Easter time.  Maybe you’ve displayed them yourself, or heard the name “Easter seal” without really knowing exactly what they are all about.  The fact is, The National Easter Seal Society is a long-standing and amazing advocacy organization whose history of trailblazing for good can inspire us all.

Easter Seals Disability Services lives up to their motto of “Help, hope, and answers” by tirelessly serving the staggering population of 1 in 5 Americans with disabilities through a number of compassionate and cost-free programs designed to improve the all aspects of the lives of the disabled. 

Their mission statement: Easter Seals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in our communities.

The organization was founded by just one man, Edgar Allen, whose son was gravely injured in a street car accident in 1907.  Allen, who was horrified by the lack of care and services for children who were disabled, sold his personal business to found the first ever crippled children’s hospital and later The National Society for Crippled Children in 1919. This society went on to develop the fundraising campaign of selling the Easter Seal decals we know today (so named because the services they funded brought new life to the disabled, an homage to the resurrection of Christ at Easter).

Today Easter Seals offers Americans with disabities more than 400 different serivces, ranging from cost-free access to asisstive medical equipment (such as walkers, wheelchairs and a wide variety of accessibility devices) to job training to autism education and advocacy.

The National Easter Seal Society also continues to be an agressive advocate for the rights of disabled adults and children.  The society was instrumental in lobbying for the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and has a powerful Legislative Action Network devoted to fighting for the congressional funding and protection of services to the disabled community.


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Photo credit: Camp ASCCA via flickr


Celine V.
Celine V6 years ago

Thanks for sharing this!

Christa Deanne
Oceana Ellingson6 years ago

Never heard of them, bus sounds like a great organization!

maria m.
Madrone m6 years ago

Last I heard (back in the mid 90's) they still tested on animals....

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

For four years, I worked a half-time job funded by the federal government, placed with Windham Area Interfaith Ministry, for workers age 55 or over, administered by Easter Seals.

Dana W.
Dana W6 years ago

There are so many different organizations nowadays I'd forgotten about Easter Seals. Thanks for reminding us about the good work they do.

An Mi
Anna M6 years ago

I support Easter Seals :) Thank you for the article! :-)

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B6 years ago

thanks for telling the world

Alice A.
Alice Anderson6 years ago

Please support Easter Seals in its work for the disabled in the US.

Juliet D.
judith sanders6 years ago

Most people my age (50s) associate Easter Seals with tuberculosis, and the lily with the religious symbolism for the Virgin Mary. While TB is making a comeback, I think the NPO should update its image a bit to make it clear that they are working on all sorts of illnesses, and not a religious group.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago