Proclamation 5800 -- National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week, 1988


April 21, 1988


By the President of the United States of America


A Proclamation


The generosity for which the American people have always been known shines clearly today in the willingness of many people to become organ and tissue donors so that others might live or have an opportunity to enjoy a fuller life. Thousands of Americans will receive an extraordinary gift this year -- a kidney, heart, liver, pancreas, a combination of heart and lung, skin, a cornea, bone, or bone marrow. The great majority of these gifts will have been possible only because a caring American agreed to donate an organ or tissue for transplantation.


We can all take pride in this generosity; yet the need for additional transplants remains great. Thousands of Americans will wait this year for a well-matched organ or tissue to become available. For some, no donor may be found. The decision to volunteer as an organ donor is a significant act of personal sacrifice. Fortunately, knowledge about organ donorship has spread in recent years. Groups in our communities stand ready to answer questions about organ and tissue donation. The American Council on Transplantation and school, church, and community groups are involved. Many States give people the chance to sign donor authorization cards when they complete their driver's license forms. Others require hospitals to offer people the opportunity to donate under appropriate circumstances.


Encouragement of organ and tissue donation must always be accompanied, of course, by thorough reflection and complete information. Recent medical and technological developments are posing new moral and ethical questions about transplantation in certain circumstances. Individuals, and society as a whole, must carefully consider these questions so that we never undercut our reverence for the sanctity God vests equally in the life of every person, from the moment of conception until natural death.


The Congress, by Public Law 100 - 273, has designated the week of April 24 through April 30, 1988, as ``National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this occasion.


Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of April 24 through April 30, 1988, as National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week. I ask health care professionals, public and private service organizations, and all Americans to join in supporting this humanitarian cause.


In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.


Ronald Reagan


[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:34 p.m., April 22, 1988]


Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on April 22.