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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali: The Fight He Could Not Win

Yesterday evening, June 3, 2016, I heard the sad news; Muhammad Ali had lost his fight with Parkinson's disease. It had been a very long bout, 32 years long. He had fought a good fight, had always maintained his dignity and he's now at peace. I'm not sure he really lost, I think I would call it a draw.

I credit the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, for this Parkinson's Humor blog I write. I never met the man, or visited the center named after him, but the staff came to Yuma at the end of March, in 2011 and put on a two-day seminar they called PD-101. I still have my big binder.

I learned more in those two days than I ever heard from my Doctors. I first heard the term "Parkie" at that seminar and I loved it. There were several people with tee-shirts that said "Have you Hugged a Parkie Today?" This made me decide to become a Happy Parkie. 

I also found out Yuma had a support group, which I joined and now lead.

I learned that being wide awake in the middle of the night was a common medication side effect and that there were chat rooms dedicated to Parkinson's where you could talk with other Parkies. Finding one of these chat rooms changed my life. I connected with Parkies from around the world and one in Australia, Karyn, suggested I write down the funny stories I would tell in the chat room and share them online. Hence, this Parkinson's Humor blog was born. 

I actually had an appointment, once, to see a Movement Disorder Specialist (Dr. Santiago) at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. It took several months to get in and my appointment was for January 6th. Unfortunately, in December, my Medicare Advantage provider decided to drop the Muhammad Ali Center from their list of in-network physicians. Without insurance coverage, I could not afford to go and cancelled my appointment. 

Thank you, Mr. Ali, for all you did to help raise awareness of Parkinson's disease, and thanks to the Center named after you for changing my life. Rest in Peace.

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