Commentary: Ali’s legacy from the Parkinson community’s perspective

When celebrities develop a disease, many choose to use their power and fame to bring attention and research dollars to their ailment.

The efforts of these “limelight ambassadors” affect thousands of people worldwide, offering hope and a window into the mysterious world of disease progression.

In this respect, Muhammad Ali really was the greatest.

Ali not only used his larger-than-life status to raise awareness about the disease, he also raised hope. He showed the 1 million Parkinson’s disease patients in this country that you can live for decades — good, high-quality decades — with the disease. When he lit the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta, he lit a fire in all of us, particularly in the Parkinson’s community, who saw in him hope for all.

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