Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Photo: Instagram)

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, recently announced her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

In a heartfelt statement shared Sunday night, the 74-year-old congresswoman revealed, “My doctors have confirmed my diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I am currently undergoing treatment to battle this disease that impacts tens of thousands of Americans every year.”

Despite the diagnosis, Jackson Lee remains committed to her legislative duties.

She acknowledged that her treatments might occasionally cause her to miss votes but emphasized her dedication to collaborating with House Speaker Mike Johnson and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries on crucial legislation.

“I am committed to working on legislation that is critical for the prosperity and security of the American people,” she said.

Sheila Jackson Lee expressed confidence in her medical team, stating, “I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease. The road ahead will not be easy, but I stand in faith that God will strengthen me.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, non-Hispanic Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which is the 10th most common form of the disease and affects 1.7% of people in their lifetime.

The average age of diagnosis is 70.

Representing Texas’ 18th District, which includes parts of Houston, Sheila Jackson Lee recently won a primary election to regain her seat after losing her bid for mayor of Houston late last year.

With roughly 30 years of service in Congress, she has been a staunch advocate for her constituents and a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In May, Jackson Lee reintroduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, underscoring her commitment to criminal justice reform.

She serves on the House’s Judiciary and Homeland Security committees and has been a vocal advocate for public education.

Recently, she called for the education department’s Office for Civil Rights to conduct a Title VI investigation into the takeover of Houston’s Independent School District (HISD). 

“This is not helping our families,” Sheila Jackson Lee told ABC News in March, responding to reports of Houston public school teachers quitting. “It’s not helping our children. That’s our number one priority, so I’m going to work with them until the very end until we are successful in bringing back an elected board and the governance that has the input of our parents and our teachers so they can do what is best for our children’s well-being.”

More than 80% of HISD students are Black and Hispanic, highlighting the importance of addressing potential racial disparities in educational governance.

Title VI of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

Rep. Jackson Lee’s announcement has prompted an outpouring of support from colleagues and constituents alike.

Her determination to continue her legislative work despite her diagnosis is a testament to her resilience and dedication to public service.

As she embarks on this challenging journey, her commitment to her constituents and her faith in overcoming this adversity remain steadfast.

Please join me in sending an abundance of love and prayers to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

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Source: ABC News

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