Nobody Is Talking About The Most Important Person We Lost In 2016. Learn All About Him Here

The year 2016 was marred by what can only be called an epidemic of celebrity deaths. Nearly everyone has heard of stars like David Bowie, Carrie Fischer, and Prince. But of all the people who died last year, the one who made the greatest contribution to modern civilization was Dr. Donald Henderson. A lot of people have never heard of Dr. Henderson, but the world owes him a big “thank you” for his role in eradicating smallpox.

Smallpox was once the scourge of humanity. It was a common disease, often hitting in childhood. In about a third of cases, it was fatal. Many of those who survived were left physically scarred by the disease. Sometimes there were more serious complications, notably blindness. By the late 1700s, a vaccine had been developed but it was a long time before inoculation became common throughout the world. Even in the 20th century, smallpox ended the lives of over 300 million people.

In the 1960s, Dr. Henderson lead a small group of heroes known as the Smallpox Eradication Unit. At that time, just a half century ago, 2 million people were still dying of smallpox every year. By the mid-1970s, the disease was confined to Ethiopia and Somalia. Despite very difficult conditions in these countries, the team persevered. The last case of smallpox was diagnosed in 1977 and the disease was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1980. This was the first time a major disease had not merely been brought under control, but actually driven out of existence.

Take a look at the video we’ve posted below. You’ll learn more about this heroic doctor who saved literally millions of lives.

Were you amazed by Dr. Henderson’s achievement? Do you have a smallpox vaccine scar on your arm? Let us know in the Facebook comments. Don’t forget to like and share so your friends can learn about the most important person we lost in 2016.