“If there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s that Parkinson’s Disease sucks,” Wexton said on Twitter.
According to Politico, over the previous months, the disease has primarily affected Wexton’s speech and how her mouth moves, causing her to speak more quickly. It has also impacted her balance and the way she walks.
On #WorldParkinsonsDay, I'm here to share that I've been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
I'm doing well, and I want to bring about as much good from this diagnosis as I can—including here in Congress. pic.twitter.com/bvEwzZQbqp
— Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton) April 11, 2023
While the disease has caused impairments, the Virginia Democrat emphasized that Parkinson’s isn’t a “death sentence” and that she’s working with a doctor to address the symptoms.
“What Parkinson’s is not is an untreatable disease, a cognitive impairment, or a death sentence. So please! You are welcome to empathize, but don’t feel sorry for me,” she said. “I’m working with my doctor on a treatment plan that addresses my symptoms. And I’ve been feeling good and staying strong. I’ve been focused on legislation, voting in Congress, traveling around my district, hosting constituent service events, and visiting with local businesses and schools – all just like normal.”
“I want to use that platform to be a voice for those struggling with Parkinson’s to help bring better resources to the search for a cure,” she said.
Per Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body controlled by the nerves. There is no known cure for the disease. It is the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder in the U.S. behind Alzheimer’s disease.
The congresswoman has represented Virginia’s 10th Congressional District since 2019.