* Subscribers were told about this yesterday morning…
Calling it “more of a nuisance than a disability,” Chris Kennedy on Tuesday acknowledged that he suffers from a hereditary disorder that causes tremors — a day after the Sun-Times reported that the gubernatorial candidate’s hands were shaking during a meet-and-greet with Cook County Democratic leaders.
“I wanted to set the record straight. The shaking is a condition I’ve lived with my whole life called familial [tremors.] It runs in the family. Doctors don’t know what causes it other than it is hereditary and does not cause impairment — more of a nuisance than a disability. In fact, many of my family members live with it. It doesn’t limit any of us in any way,” Kennedy wrote in a statement on Facebook.
“I don’t talk much about it, not because I’m ashamed of it, but because having dealt with it my whole life, it’s just not that big a deal to me. The fact is millions of people live their lives with far, far great challenges than an occasional handshake.
“The fact is improving the health of this state is a whole more important to me than talking about a minor condition. Once in a while, my hand will shake whether I like it or not. But regardless, most of the time, the kind of handshakes you’ll see from me will be on the campaign trail, earning the votes of the people of Illinois who believe in our quest to restore the promise of our state,” he wrote.
* As noted above, he has what’s known as “familial tremor,” which is a subset of “essential tremor.” Here’s the definition…
Essential tremor signs and symptoms:
Begin gradually, usually on one side of the body
Worsen with movement
Usually occur in the hands first, affecting one hand or both hands
Can include a “yes-yes” or “no-no” motion of the head
May be aggravated by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine or temperature extremes […]
About half of essential tremor cases appear to result from a genetic mutation, although a specific gene hasn’t been identified. This form is referred to as familial tremor. It isn’t clear what causes essential tremor in people without a known genetic mutation. […]
Essential tremor isn’t life-threatening, but symptoms often worsen over time.
He has it in both hands.
It’s really not a big deal for an average person. The problem for Kennedy is that the shaking can sometimes become more prominent during times of stress, like, perhaps, during an important debate or TV appearance. Again, physically, it’s not a big thing, but people just don’t pay a lot of attention to state politics, so they can be very shallow when making their judgements about candidates.
This game, whether we care to admit it or not, is a lot about show business. It doesn’t affect his brain, but it could affect the perception of him.
…Adding… As a commenter notes below, one possible irony here is that Kennedy’s uncle, JFK, won a presidential debate and maybe even the whole campaign because Richard Nixon looked horrible on TV.