Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) announced on Monday that she will not seek reelection after receiving an updated, more serious diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy.
Wexton revealed in April that she’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, saying at the time that she hoped to continue serving “for many years to come.” But she sought additional testing after she had not been making the progress “to manage my symptoms that I had hoped,” Wexton, 55, said in a statement, leading to the new diagnosis of PSP, which she called “a kind of Parkinson’s on steroids.” The two conditions are often confused when first diagnosing a patient because they have similar symptoms.
“I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community,” Wexton said in the statement. “But taking into consideration the prognosis for my health over the coming years, I have made the decision not to seek reelection once my term is complete and instead spend my valued time with Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones.”
Earlier this year, Wexton said the disease had primarily affected her speech and how her mouth moved, causing her to speak more quickly. It has also impacted her balance and the way she walks.