Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Rev. Jesse Jackson diagnosed with Parkinson's disease

Rev. Jesse Jackson diagnosed with Parkinson's disease

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Sr. revealed Friday that he's been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

"Now in the latter years of my life, at 76 years old, I find it increasingly hard to perform routine tasks, and getting around is more of a challenge", Jackson writes. "My family and I began to notice changes about three years ago", Jackson writes. For a while, I resisted interrupting my work to visit a doctor.

There is no known cause, and no cure, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation website.

A number of other notable figures have been afflicted with the disease, including boxing legend Muhammad Ali, actor Michael J. Fox and Pope John Paul II.

Northwestern Medicine also released a statement saying Jackson was diagnosed with the disease in 2015 and that they had been treating him in an outpatient setting.

It can start with tremors, and symptoms generally worsen over time.

Jackson goes on to describe the pain that has come with understanding the realities of the disease, and the passion he feels for slowing the disease's progression, via physical therapy.

The disease itself is not fatal but people can die from complications. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave Jackson a role in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was charged with establishing a presence for the organization in Chicago.

Parkinson's runs in Jackson's family.

Twice a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s, he has remained a strong voice in numerous anti-discrimination efforts, including advocating for affordable housing.

Jackson said Parkinson's "bested" his father.

"I will continue to try to instill hope in the hopeless, expand our democracy to the disenfranchised and free innocent prisoners around the world", he wrote.

His son, Jesse Jackson Jr, is a former member of Congress from IL.

"I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out".

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