Virginia Congresswoman: I Have Parkinson's

Jennifer Wexton announces her diagnosis on National Parkinson's Day
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2023 12:30 PM CDT
Virginia Congresswoman: I Have Parkinson's
Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va, speaks with reporters on Oct. 20, 2022, in Leesburg, Va. Wexton announced Tuesday, April 11, 2023, she has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. She is vowing to continue her work in Congress and says "I'm not going to let Parkinson's stop me from being me."   (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat, File)

Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton survived a dogfight of a re-election campaign in November, but she's got a personal fight on her hands now: As Politico reports, the 54-year-old Democrat revealed on Tuesday that she has Parkinson's disease, saying in a video that if "there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s that Parkinson’s disease sucks." Wexton, who serves Virginia's 10th District, says she's sticking with the job because "I'm doing what I love. ... And I hope to keep serving you for many years to come." She says the disease is manifesting mainly in her quickened speech, her walking, and her ability to keep her balance, but is "not a death sentence."

Her announcement comes on National Parkinson's Day, and she says she wants to use her public "platform to be a voice for those struggling with Parkinson’s to help bring better resources to the search for a cure." "I'm doing well. ... I've been working with my doctor on a treatment plan that addresses my symptoms, and I've been feeling good and staying strong." The Washington Post notes that about 500,000 Americans share the same diagnosis, and that number is considered to be underreported. Per the Post, Wexton was elected in 2018, flipping a Republican seat, and eked out a victory in 2022 with 53% of the vote. (More Parkinson's disease stories.)

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