Congressman John Lewis receives the Congressional Medal of Freedom from then-President Barack Obama on February 15, 2011 at the White House

(Photo Credit: Rick Diamond/Staff/Getty Images)

V103 Stops The Music for Congressman John Lewis

Civil Rights Icon fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Maria Boynton
December 30, 2019 - 4:29 pm

When V103 Atlanta stopped the music this morning, it was to honor and encourage Civil Rights Icon John Lewis. The longtime Congressman from Atlanta announced Sunday that he is fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Lewis said in a statement that "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."

V103/WAOK's Maria Boynton and V103 Political Analyst/WAOK Talk Show Host Rashad Richey talk Cong John Lewis' Cancer Diagnosis
(Photo Credit: Rashad Richey/RADIO.COM)

During this morning's live program hosted by myself and WAOK Talkshow Host/V103 Political Analyst Rashad Richey, former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell joined the discussion, calling Lewis one of "my dearest and oldest friends". Campbell shared that his mother died of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He added "I'm very very familiar with the disease and how it affects African Americans."

According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. 

Atlanta State Senator Nikema Williams, who, like Lewis, is a native of Alabama, said they often joked that she'd come "through the John Lewis school of politics where we do find a way to get in the way."  Williams said Lewis put an emphasis on how to be a servant-leader "not just the district, but in the state and the country, and it's respected on both sides of the aisle." Lewis said that his diagnosis was confirmed earlier this month during a routine medical visit. "That's him doing exactly what he's supposed to do", said Williams, "and goes back to him (Lewis) continuing to fight for everybody to have access to quality healthcare, the same insurance, the same top-notch doctors that he is receiving." Williams encouraged listeners to send cards and letters to Congressman Lewis to show that he's lifted up in prayer and "we're with him in every step of the way in this fight."

The Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. Raphael Warnock said during this morning's program that he'd spoken with Lewis Sunday night. "I heard the same deep resolve that we've become accustomed to." Warnock likened cancer to racism saying "John Lewis has defeated cancer before. Racism is America's cancer and its pre-existing condition and he confronted it with valor and courage on a bridge in Selma, chased it into a kind of remission that gave us the Voting Rights Act. If there's anybody who can face down any adversary it's John Lewis. So, we pray for him, we lift him high, and we wait on God who is his strength."

The 79 year old Atlanta Democratic said that he plans to undergo treatment and remain a U.S. Representative. Lewis has served in the U.S. Congress since 1987.