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Rep. John Lewis to undergo treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer

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  • Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is undergoing treatment. 
  • In a statement announcing the news on Sunday, Lewis said he found out this month during a routine medical visit.
  • “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,” he wrote. 
  • The 79-year-old civil rights icon said he would continue to serve his constituents in the 5th Congressional District of Georgia as he undergoes treatment. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is undergoing treatment. 

The civil rights icon released a statement on Sunday announcing the news: 

“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,” he wrote. 

“This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed,” he continued.

“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. 

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.” 

The 79-year-old said he would continue to serve his constituents in the 5th Congressional District of Georgia as he undergoes treatment. 

“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 frontlines soon. 

Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”

According to his House bio, Lewis has been referred to as “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced.” 

Lewis grew up on his family’s farm in Alabama and was inspired by the activism of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. During his college years, he participated in “Freedom Rides,” which challenged the Jim Crow segregation laws in the South by sitting in bus seats reserved for white patrons.

At the age of 23, Lewis was a keynote speaker during the March on Washington, which took place in August 1963. He also coordinated protest marches along the 54-mile highway stretch from Selma, Alabama to the capital of Montgomery to advocate for voting rights in the state. The protesters were attacked by state troopers, with the confrontation being deemed “Bloody Sunday.”

Lewis was elected into Congress in 1986, where he currently serves as Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, and Chairman of its Subcommittee on Oversight.

Lewis has also received numerous awards, including the 2010 Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, which was granted to him by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Lewis most recently has been a critic of President Donald Trump, and in 2017 said he didn’t see then-president-elect Trump as a “legitimate president.” In 2018, Lewis called Trump “a racist” after the president made comments about people coming into the US from “shithole” countries

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