Rev. Jesse Jackson Reveals Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis

Civil rights activist, the Rev. Jesse Jackson revealed Friday (Nov. 17) that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder that affects movement and has no known cure.

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In a letter, the 76-year-old details that about three years ago, he and his family began to notice a few physical differences, which he later discovered after a visit to the doctor to be Parkinson’s.

“Recognition of the effects of this disease on me has been painful, and I have been slow to grasp the gravity of it,” he wrote of the disease, which took his own father’s life. However, he is doing what he can to remain hopeful about his prognosis.

“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,” Jackson continued in a statement. “Some 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year…I steadfastly affirm that I would rather wear out than rust out.”

A South Carolina native, Jackson has participated in several civil rights demonstrations throughout his life, notably alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also ran as a Democratic candidate in the 1984 and 1988 Presidential races.

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Recently, he spoke out against Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, and was involved in national conversation after the controversial shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014.