Congress members from both sides of the aisle have offered messages of support after Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) revealed that he has been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Lewis, 79, received the diagnosis after a routine medical checkup and will undergo treatment for cancer, he said in a statement on Sunday night. “This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed,” Lewis said in his statement.
He added that “treatment options are no longer as debilitating” and that he has “a fighting chance.”
Following the news, Republican and Democratic lawmakers expressed their concern and offered their support for the civil rights leader on social media.
“@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,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote on Twitter.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) offered similar support while praising Lewis for his courage throughout his career.
“John has never backed down from a fight, and I know he will battle cancer with the same courage and toughness he has always demonstrated,” Scalise wrote.
Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said that he was deeply saddened by the news and called on Americans to pray for Lewis during his time in need.
“Champion. Hero. Legend. Mr. Lewis has always been there to fight for America,” Jeffries said.
Vice-Chairman of the House Republican Conference Mark Walker (R-N.C.) also shared similar sentiments in his statement while sharing a photo of him and Lewis on Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.
“John Lewis has crossed many tough bridges in his life. He’s never backed down from a fight, always standing firm & with resolve. It was one of the greatest honors of my life to walk by his side across this bridge, & I will do the same as he crosses his next. Prayers, my friend,” Walker wrote.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter: “We pray, hope, and believe that he will win this fight as well.”
In his statement, Lewis said that he plans to return to Washington in the coming days to continue work. He added that his treatment plan will also 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,” he wrote.
The American Cancer Society says the average lifetime risk of pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 64, but a person’s chances of getting the cancer are impacted by different risk factors like smoking, age, and family history.
The organization estimates that about 56,770 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, while 45,750 people will die from the cancer.