Ali known not just for prowess in ring but also for faith, generosity

07 June 2016

Nancy Wiechec, Catholic News Service

PHOENIX (CNS) -- Muhammad Ali leaves an indelible mark on the world not only as a fighter and athlete but as a man of faith, courage and generosity.

The three-time heavyweight champion and self-titled "The Greatest" boxer of all time died at a Scottsdale hospital June 3. He was 74.

In Phoenix, where Ali lived his last years, people recalled his kindness and bravery in his struggle with Parkinson's disease.

"I've watched him face the disease with grace and humor, and he has inspired countless patients to do the same," said Dr. Holly Shill in a statement from the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. "We have lost a great warrior in the battle of Parkinson's, but hope continues."

Founded in 1997 by Ali and his wife, Lonnie (Yolanda), along with philanthropist Jimmy Walker and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center offers advanced treatments for Parkinson's and other movement disorders as well as therapy and support for patients and caretakers. It is part of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in the Sisters of Mercy-founded Dignity Health network.

Patient Ida Stanford reflected on the center and its famous namesake in a Dignity Health video.

"I can't imagine having Parkinson's and not having place like the center," she said. "Muhammad Ali stood up for what he believed in. He was one-of-a-kind and still is one-of-a-kind."

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Photo by Zenon Texeira

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