Civil Rights icon, Jesse Jackson, has revealed that he is battling Parkinson’s disease.
Jackson, 76, made the announcement through an official statement released last Friday. This marks his first public remarks on the subject, but he was diagnosed with the illness in 2015. Years before, Jackson’s father also battled Parkinson’s disease, which affects 7 to 10 million people around the world.
Jackson Is seemingly in good spirits, saying this in his recent statement:
“My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago. For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor. But as my daily physical struggles intensified I could no longer ignore the symptoms, so I acquiesced.
After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father.
Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it. 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.”
Jackson was an instrumental force during the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for racial equality alongside leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy. In 2000, President Bill Clinton presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In spite of his recent diagnosis, Jackson plans to continue his work as an activist and human rights advocate in the coming years, stating:
“I will continue to try to instill hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world. I’m also spending some time working on my memoir so I can share with others the lessons I have learned in my life of public service. I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out….
KEEP HOPE ALIVE!”