Lewis, a civil rights icon, first became etched in this nation’s consciousness because of his bravery on “Bloody Sunday,” the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., where he protested alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Today, he remains hopeful, noting that doctors have informed him of recent medical advances that give him a fighting chance.
“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 in a statement according to the network. “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.”
The 79-year-old congressman, who is in his 17th term, intends to keep on working.
“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.
The beloved leader received an outpouring of love on Sunday evening as the news broke, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Cory Booker, and other colleagues in Congress.
Former U.S. presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also tweeted their support.