Muhammad Ali’s bravery in the ring is undisputed but millions of seniors and Sacramento respite caregivers will also remember his courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Doctors still don’t know what causes Parkinson’s, but they do know that its progression varies from person to person. Symptoms range from slowed motor function and tremors to muscle pain and anxiety.
Ali started showing symptoms of Parkinson’s about three years prior to his official diagnosis in 1984. Although the disease took its toll on his mobility, he approached life with dignity and grace and brought awareness to millions about this disease. Ali was also among one of the first famous figures to speak out about living with Parkinson’s. He was and will always be known as both an inspiration and a legend to those who continue to live with PD.
In 1996, millions of people were inspired by Ali’s courage as he lit the Olympic torch with his trembling arm. At the end of the Olympic games, Ali was given a new gold medal to replace the one he won back in 1960. Ali went on to show his courage and strength when he made an appearance at the 2012 London Olympics. People were thrilled to see Ali, but they were surprised and heartbroken to see how frail he had become.
A few years after 1996, Ali and his wife joined forces with actor Michael J. Fox to raise more money for Parkinson’s research. They appeared before Congress in 2002 to campaign for more research funding. Ali’s wife spoke on his behalf about his battle with Parkinson’s and encouraged members of congress to sympathize with others who live with PD, not to mention their families and Sacramento caregivers.
As Ali’s illness worsened, he was able to maintain an image of fortitude, resilience, and hope. The invaluable work he did for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, AZ, and Michael J. Fox Foundation before his death will continue to raise awareness for Parkinson’s and help researchers find new treatments. In this way his legacy lives on, giving hope to anyone bravely fighting this terrible disease.
If you are currently caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s, know that help is just a phone call away. Call Home Care Assistance of Sacramento at (916) 706-0169 to learn more about PD and how to provide comfort and stability for your loved one. Our experienced caregivers are always available to help your loved one with daily tasks such as mobility training, meal preparation, and personal care assistance. Set up a free consultation today when you call.