Rev. Jesse Jackson Announces He Has Parkinson’s Disease
Rev. Jesse Jackson has announced that he has Parkinson’s disease. The prominent civil rights leader posted a statement revealing his diagnosis on social media on Friday (Nov. 17).
In his statement, Jackson said that he was finding it “increasingly difficult to perform routine tasks” and that his family noticed changes about three years ago.
“After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson's disease, a disease that bested my father," he wrote in his statement.
Parkinson disease is a neurological disorder with no known cure. It's often commonly associated with tremors, stiffness and difficulty with walking and balancing. The late iconic athlete Muhammad Ali also suffered with Parkinson’s disease for several years before passing way in June 2016.
Despite his diagnosis, Jackson vowed to continued to "instill hope in the hopeless" and "expand our democracy to the disenfranchised" to best of his ability.
“For me, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is not a stop sign but rather a signal that I must make lifestyle changes and dedicate myself to physical therapy in hopes of slowing the disease’s progression," he wrote in his missive.
Jackson said he will also continue writing a memoir. “I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out,” he said.
He ended the letter with “Keep hope alive!”
Upon hearing the news of Rev. Jesse Jackson's health issue, fellow civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton went on his Instagram page to send his prayers and gratitude.
“As I watched him, I thought about the greatness of this man,” he said. “How he continued Martin Luther King’s movement for justice, how he cemented it in the North and made the King movement truly national...He changed the nation, he served in ways he never got credit. No one in our lifetime served longer and stronger. We pray for him, because he’s given his life for us.”