Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin tells supporters he’s midway through cancer treatment

Appearing in his now-signature bandanna and in high spirits, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) told supporters in a video message Wednesday that he was midway through his cancer chemotherapy treatment.

“I’ve done three of six rounds of chemotherapy, and you guys have completely bolstered my courage and my confidence,” he told members of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in what he called a “video valentine,” after reading thousands of messages the group’s members sent him recently.


Raskin announced in December that he had been diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a serious but curable form of cancer. He noted that the “prognosis for most people in my situation is excellent after four months of treatment.” Since then, lawmakers across the political spectrum and Raskin’s supporters across the country — including Raskin’s rock idol, Steven Van Zandt from the E Street Band — have sent loads of well wishes and “chemo gear” gifts, Raskin said.

He pointed to the bandanna he was wearing, courtesy of “my new friend Little Steven” — who inspired Raskin to start sporting a bandanna in the first place before sending him a batch of his own as gifts. “These are not just gifts, these are hand-me-downs — which he hastened to say he washed and then sent to me from the road,” Raskin said.


He held up “this beautiful magician wizard hat” — a Van Zandt-inspired gift, Raskin said. He got a bandanna with the preamble to the Constitution written on it, fitting for the constitutional law professor. He got another from “a place called Alexis’s Lemonade Stand.” And a personal favorite, “genuine Voltaire bandannas” from someone in North Carolina, “which quote the passage from Voltaire that I quoted in the impeachment trial, saying, ‘Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’”

Some supporters sent their “own chemo hats that worked for them,” Raskin said.

“My cup runneth over,” he said. “I want to thank you guys, seriously, for hanging tough, for expressing your solidarity with me. Thank you for all your notes about ‘Unthinkable’ and the essays that you guys wrote about Tommy,” Raskin said, referring to his late son, who died by suicide days before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection — a collision of personal and national tragedies that was the subject of Raskin’s 2022 book. “That means so much to me.”

This isn’t Raskin’s first experience with chemotherapy — he underwent both chemo and radiation to treat colon cancer more than a decade ago.

Since the start of this year, Raskin has been managing his cancer treatment alongside a visible role as the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, leading Democrats’ floor arguments against Republican legislation. He said in an interview last week that it hasn’t been easy, noting he has experienced some lethargy and loss of appetite, as well as the loss of his hair.

But the bandanna helps, he said.

“When I’m wearing it, I forget about [the cancer],” he said.