By the President of the United States of America
Parkinson's disease is one of the most devastating afflictions threatening our older population. Experts have estimated that one in forty Americans past mid-life may develop the disorder. Over the centuries, it has caused incalculable suffering.
Nine years ago, when National Parkinson Week was first proclaimed, the outlook for Parkinson's disease patients was one of increasing darkness. Today, however, the prospect is one of dawning hope. Because of progress in drug treatment, thousands of Americans formerly disabled by Parkinson's disease are now leading more normal lives. Yet the battle is not won. Although drugs presently control the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, they do not cure or arrest it. Because the cause is still unknown, prevention is not possible.
With the great strides which have been made in treatment, however, we have reason to hope that research will soon find the cause of the disorder and thousands of our older citizens will be spared this disabling affliction. In recognition of the need to heighten public awareness of this disease, the Congress has, by Public Law 89-294, authorized and requested the President to proclaim annually National Parkinson Week.
Now, Therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week beginning October 27 as National Parkinson Week, 1974. I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to issue similar proclamations.
I also call upon the Nation's communications media, the medical and health professions, Government and private agencies, and individuals concerned with Parkinson's disease to sponsor activities during that week designed to inform every American of the need for their support as we continue in our efforts to prevent and cure Parkinson's disease.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-ninth.
GERALD R. FORD