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Jesse Jackson Discloses Parkinson's Diagnosis

Jesse Jackson Discloses Parkinson's Diagnosis
(Copyright Andre Kang/GDA via AP)

Friday, 17 November 2017 12:56 PM

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson disclosed in a statement Friday that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which also afflicted his father.

In an emotional letter to his supporters, the 76-year-old said his diagnosis came "after a battery of tests," NBC News reports.

"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.

Parkinson's is an uncurable neurodegenerative disorder that can cause tremors, slowed movement, rigid muscles, loss of movement, and speech changes.

Jackson, a civil rights activist with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a former Democratic presidential candidate, founded Chicago's Rainbow PUSH coalition and has remained a prominent religious and political figure.

In a statement Friday, Jackson detailed the circumstances of his diagnosis:

"Throughout my career of service, God has kept me in the embrace of his loving arms, and protected me and my family from dangers, seen and unseen. Now in the latter years of my life, at 76 years old, I find it increasingly difficult to perform routine tasks, and getting around is more of a challenge. 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. ...God continues to give me new opportunities to serve. This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that. It is an opportunity for me to use my voice to help in finding a cure for a disease that afflicts 7 to 10 million worldwide. Some 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year."

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Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson disclosed Friday that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, which also afflicted his father.
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2017-56-17
Friday, 17 November 2017 12:56 PM
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