Jesse Jackson Diagnosed With Parkinson's Disease At 76

Henrietta Brewer
November 18, 2017

The 76-year-old conceded he is finding it more and more hard to perform routine tasks or travel, and says he sought the diagnosis after his family began noticing changes in him physically beginning about three years ago.

- Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson announced Friday that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

While Jackson said the diagnosis is hard, it "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".

Mr Jackson fought for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s. He also negotiated successfully for the release of three United States soldiers who had been held in Yugoslavia.

Parkinson's disease is an uncurable neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, according to the Mayo Clinic. He spoke out most recently in 2014 about the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting of Michael Brown, whose death ignited protests and a national debate about police and race.

"We are all thinking of Reverend Jesse Jackson and his family today", said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a fellow Democrat who was former President Barack Obama's first chief of staff.

I am far from alone.

"I will need your prayers and graceful understanding as I undertake this new challenge", wrote Jackson.

Every year, roughly 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson's, a neurological disease with no cure. This diagnosis is personal but it is more than that.

"As I watched him, I thought about the greatness of this man", he said.

He said that he is also working on a memoir. "I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out", he said, thanking his family and friends for their support.

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