WASHINGTON – Civil rights icon, Democratic Rep. John Lewis, announced Sunday that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The disease was discovered when the 79-year-old leader underwent a routine medical exam.
“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis said. “While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”
Lewis is no stranger to fighting. Lewis says he was arrested at least 40 times during his civil rights activism days, and famously marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for voting rights in Selma, Alabama in March 1965. He was beaten by a white officer, who fractured Lewis’ skull, while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
Lewis is showing he still has lots more fight in him.
“So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross,” Lewis said.
Lewis is in his 17th term as a member of Congress and has represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District since 1986. He has been very vocal about his dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump, calling the president a racist and voting to impeach him.
While his diagnosis will undoubtedly slow him down a bit, Lewis said he will continue to work.
“I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon,” he said.
Support has been pouring out across the nation, wishing the congressman well wishes:
If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 30, 2019
.@RepJohnLewis, we are all praying for you following this diagnosis. John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight. We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well. pic.twitter.com/j7YMUGLPC2
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 29, 2019
The King Center:
— The King Center (@TheKingCenter) December 30, 2019
Senator Chris Van Hollen:
There are many ways to describe John Lewis—champion for civil rights, role model, unstinting public servant. But one that immediately comes to mind? Fighter. He’s fought his entire life for us—for a more perfect union. We stand with him again in this fight.https://t.co/utX4vN5yul
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) December 30, 2019
Pictured: African American News Issue publisher, Shirley Ann Malonson with Representative John Lewis.