Prayers and well wishes have come flooding in from notable leaders like Barack Obama for the resilient Congressman.
Civil rights champion John Lewis has served the United States Congress ever since 1987. He has dedicated his life to serving the American people and ensuring racial equality. Sadly, in a statement released on Sunday, the Congressman revealed that he is currently receiving treatment for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He made a vow to fight the illness just as passionately and with as much determination as he has fought racial inequality, The Washington Post reports. Since Representative Lewis released his statement, several messages of support have come flooding in from fellow lawmakers as well as hundreds of concerned American citizens.
According to the 79-year-old, his doctors detected cancer during a routine checkup earlier this month. After follow-up tests, doctors confirmed that Lewis did, in fact, have Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He explained in his statement, "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. This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed. 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."
About five percent of all patients with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer live for five years after they receive their diagnosis, as per information from Johns Hopkins Medicine. On average, a patient will live for a year post-diagnosis. Furthermore, in 2019, pancreatic cancer was the third most common cause of death from cancer, according to a report by the National Cancer Institute. Nonetheless, Representative Lewis remains steadfast in the fight against his cancer diagnosis. "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," he affirmed in his statement. "We still have many bridges to cross."
He continued, "To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime. I will return to Washington in coming days to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks. I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon." Lewis is a longtime member of the Democratic Party and has historically voted in favor of laws to make the United States a more equitable place for all citizens. His liberal vote is perhaps more important now than ever before. Therefore, he concluded his statement with a simple request: "Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey."
The prayers and well wishes have already come flooding in. Most notably, former US President Barack Obama, offering words of encouragement, asserted in a tweet, "If there’s one thing I love about Representative John Lewis, 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." Former President Bill Clinton added, "If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John. Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family." Additionally, Minister Bernice King, the youngest child of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., stated, "Very saddened to learn that the great Congressman and civil rights champion, Representative John Lewis, has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I am praying for him and encouraged by the knowledge that he is a legendary fighter. Fight on, sir."