Civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson was released from a Chicago rehab facility on Wednesday after a nearly month-long stay. Jackson was receiving speech and physical therapy at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab after a breakthrough case of covid-19 caused complications with his Parkinson’s disease.
Jackson 79, and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, were first hospitalized in late August at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after they both tested positive for the coronavirus. Jackson was vaccinated, but Jacqueline was not due to family members having concerns over an undisclosed “pre-existing condition,” The Associated Press (AP) reported.
The couple were both initially admitted to Northwestern, but Jacqueline’s case was more severe and she had to be moved to the intensive care unit. Jackson was released from Memorial a week after being admitted, then transferred to Shirley Ryan.
The staff at Shirley Ryan said Jackson was in jubilant spirits throughout his stay. The Rainbow PUSH founder said the covid case didn’t affect his breathing, but rather his ability to walk and talk.
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He credited God and being vaccinated with saving his life. “The shot protected me from death,” Jackson said at a press conference. “Thank God for leading the way to get me again to walk again on my own power, talking.”
The Jacksons’ son, Jonathan Jackson, said his family was beyond grateful for the love and support they’ve received throughout his parents’ hospitalization, adding they know how blessed they are to still be here.
“Both my parents are ever so thankful for all of the prayers, cards and calls they have received during this very trying period of their lives,” Jonathan said in the statement. “We know it is a miracle that both of our parents are COVID-19 survivors, and we thank God for his healing. We also pray for the millions of people who have been infected with this virus and pray they too will also overcome.”
Jonathan said since her bout with covid, recovery and release earlier this month, his mother has been “a true advocate for everyone” to get vaccinated.
Despite his Parkinson’s and a gallbladder surgery earlier this year, Rev. Jackson has not slowed down with traveling to advocate for civil and voting rights. He doesn’t plan to anytime soon asking his doctors before he left the hospital, “So I can march again?”