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guinea worm

Democracy

Viral photo of an ailing Jimmy Carter turns into an outburst of gratitude for ex-president

"I love that he built homes for habitat for humanity until he literally couldn't lift a hammer."

Former president Jimmy Carter at the Commonwealth Club in California.

Former President Jimmy Carter, 99, is known for being a man of tremendous character who rose from a humble Georgia peanut farmer to president of the United States. He was elected in 1976 when America was reeling from the Watergate scandal and turned its eyes to an outsider with integrity.

Carter, a Democrat, served as president from 1977 to 1981, when Republican Ronald Reagan defeated him. After his presidency, he dedicated his life to public service, exemplified by his humanitarian work through the Carter Center, which focused on global health, democracy and human rights.

On Tuesday, March 14, Carter's grandson, Jason Carter, announced that the former president was “coming to the end” of his life in a statement made at the Carter Center. The 39th president has been under hospice care since February 2023 and in November, he lost his wife, Rosalynn, at the age of 96.


“(My grandfather) is doing OK,” Jason Carter said at a mental health forum at the Carter Center. “He has been in hospice, as you know, for almost a year and a half now, and he really is, I think, coming to the end that, as I’ve said before, there’s a part of this faith journey that is so important to him, and there’s a part of that faith journey that you only can live at the very end and I think he has been there in that space.”

Former president Jimmy Carter
byu/Justin_Godfrey inpics

News of Carter’s decline inspired people on Reddit to share a photo of him taken at his wife’s funeral at Maranatha Baptist Church, on November 29, 2023, in Plains, Georgia. In the photo, the once vibrant man is seen in a wheelchair, looking frail and wearing a suit.

Even though the photo of Carter isn’t flattering, it’s a testament to his stamina that propelled him to serve his community and the world until deep into his 90s. Commenters used the post as an opportunity to lavish their praise on a man who’s often referred to as the greatest ex-president one of the most decent men to ever hold the office.

"Interesting fact: Jimmy Carter has been alive through 40% of the whole US history" — Dacadey

"I love that he built homes for habitat for humanity until he literally couldn't lift a hammer." — Chester7833

"A true life of service." — Faux Real

One commenter noted one of Carter’s greatest achievements was working to eradicate Guinea worm. “His work with the eradication of the guinea worm saves countless lives from unnecessary pain and scarring. And he never asked any recognition for it,” Press465 wrote.

Forty years ago, 3.5 million cases of Guinea worm were reported annually, but thanks to the work of Carter’s team, there were only 13 in 2022. The disease, caused by parasitic worms that can grow up to 3 feet, causes severe skin lesions, debilitating those infected and causing extensive absences from school or work. By establishing educational programs on the risks of infection, primarily spread through contaminated water, Carter's team helped its eradication in several countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I came to the conclusion a while ago that he's the one president at least in ‘modern’ times that was too good of a person for the office." — RevengencerAlf

"I find it amazing that when he was beaten for a second term, people were putting down the solar panels he had, putting him down as ineffective (although he did get hostages back) and so on. And today's voters see him as fantastic. He did everything he was supposed to - put his peanut company in a trust (?) So he had no control of it, chose to negotiate, was forward thinking with technology (solar panels), and he by far has had the best after-presidency career with Habitat for Humanity. He's just a good, honest guy who has done his best to give back and I find that to be truly remarkable." — Estrogen