CHICAGO – Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson announced Friday that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Jackson, 76, revealed that he has had the neurological disease with no known cure after he began noticing changes in his health around three years ago. The civil rights leader and politician said the symptoms became so intense he could no longer ignore them.
“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,” Jackson told The Chicago Tribune.
Jackson is best known for being a powerful figure in the civil rights movement and marching alongside Martin Luther King Jr. The reverend was the first African American to become a main contender for a considerable political nomination. Jackson has also received a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In Jackson’s statement he explained how painful the disease has been and mentioned how he has been coping with it.
“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,” he wrote.
Jackson lost his father, Noah Louis Robinson, to Parkinson’s disease in 1997.
Feature photo: Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke at the UN today for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In his remarks, Reverend Jackson highlighted the importance of freedom of expression in the fight for human rights and to combat racial discrimination. U.S. Mission photo by Eric Bridiers. CC BY 2.0, 21 March 2012.
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