A vial of freedom-loving blood said to have belonged to late President Ronald Reagan was put up for auction this week, and the Simi Valley-based Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation (host of his library) was none too happy.
While the anti-communist blood was said to have been legally obtained by a woman who worked at a Maryland lab contracted to take the sample following the 1981 assassination attempt on him, the foundation says it will fight the sale.
In a statement sent to the Weekly and other outlets, foundation executive director John Heubusch says:
If indeed this story is true, it's a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase. We've spoken to GW Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is underway. Any individual, including a President of the United States, should feel confident that once they enter into the care of a medical system their privacy and rights are held inviolable.
The British auction house in question, pfcauctions.com -- known for its sales of such celebrity infected items as a piece of the William and Kate wedding cake -- published a letter from the lab worker's son:
These articles have actually been in my family's possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot in Washington D.C. Back in the 70's and 80's, my mother worked for Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Maryland. Her laboratory was the laboratory contracted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as the George Washington University Hospital to handle blood testing as well as other types of testing. Her lab did the blood work and testing for President Reagan. The test tube and the lab slip that I have are for his blood work to be tested for lead on [Monday] 03/30/1981. The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother's desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since.
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The site describes the vial as authentic, saying ...
... A 3½" x 1" white label has been affixed to the vial. It is printed, in purple ink, "REAGAN RONALD 940029 THOR / 610892572 AARON PRESIDENTIAL / SUITE 3/30/81 M 2/02/11 JAP." 940029 was Reagan's patient ID. AARON refers to Benjamin L. Aaron who was Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at George Washington University Hospital where Reagan was in the Presidential Suite.
The vial was going for nearly $14,500 dollars this afternoon. No word on whether the blood was tested for government cheese content.