Ted Meaney, a young journalist, turned a personal battle into a national campaign.
In 1942, as an ex-tuberculosis patient, he conceptualized the idea of forming a voluntary anti-tuberculosis movement to deal with the ravages of that disease.
He enlisted the efforts of the St. John’s Rotary Club and, together, their actions saw the birth of the Newfoundland Tuberculosis Association, today known as The Lung Association Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Government of the day wanted the proposed new Association to “act as an agent” and bring several other related concerns under its mandate. Ted Meaney and Rotary were committed to one priority only - tuberculosis. This difference of opinion resulted in no monies being made available from Government for this most crucial undertaking.
However, the lack of Government financing did not deter those volunteers committed to the cause. They made contact and sought direction from the National Tuberculosis Association in the United States - an already successful voluntary organization with the same mission. This Association sent their top executives to St. John’s to establish a fundraising campaign. And, in November 1944, with the cooperation of some local business people, the Christmas Seal Campaign was launched.
The first campaign surpassed all expectations, realizing $30,000.
Ted Meaney launched this first campaign and became the Founder and Executive Director of the newly formed Newfoundland Tuberculosis Association. However, his tuberculosis recurred, and despite the best efforts of medical service in both Newfoundland and the United States, he died in March of 1949 at the age of 21.