Thursday, January 19, 2012

Float like a butterfly

Ali recently
Muhammad Ali turned 70 this week. He has lived with Parkinson's disease for nearly half his life. He won many fights during his boxing career but this is a battle he will never win.

Back in the 1980s I had never heard of Parkinson's; then my Dad was diagnosed with it. It started with a small occasional shake in his hand. Over the next fifteen years it robbed him of his hobbies, his retirement, his self esteem, his mobility and his smile. Eventually it killed him.

Seeing a recent photo of Ali brought a flood of memories back ... thoughts of how vibrant he was during his career, like my Dad, of his sneaky sense of humor, like my Dad's, of how some of those characteristics peeked through the progressively worsening disease, again like Dad.

Some negative health issues are preventable or manageable but others like

Parkinson's are not. There is no cure, although there is a little progress in managing symptoms. It helps when famous people like Ali (and Michael J. Fox and Janet Reno) allow us to see what they are dealing with, but until we deal with a debilitating issue ourselves in some way, diseases like Parkinson's seem like other people's problems.

Muhammad Ali hasn't always led a perfect life but he is definitely a fighter in more ways than just his boxing career. In my opinion, that makes him an inspiration.

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