Tributes for Muhammad Ali have poured in from around the world this weekend, but perhaps none have been a more poignant reminder of The Greatest’s good work than those from patients at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.

Video: Muhammad Ali: 1942-2016

Patients at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center paid video tribute to the late champion whose generosity, courage, fighting spirit and dedication to helping others led the fight against Parkinson’s disease.

Muhammad Ali, a resident of the Phoenix area, was a beloved humanitarian and charitable philanthropist whose brave struggle with Parkinson’s disease inspired the patients, doctors and researchers at the Center bearing his name in central Phoenix. Parkinson’s disease affects more than 1.5 million Americans and has no known cure.

“As president and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute, which houses the Lonnie and Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, we feel the loss of this unique giant among men whose skills in the ring were equaled by his generous heart outside the ring,” Robert Spetzler, MD, said. “He may no longer be physically with us, but his indomitable spirit of confronting bigotry and fighting the ravages of Parkinson’s disease will prevail.”

The poem below, written by Dr. Abraham Lieberman, convinced Muhammad Ali to lend his name and his efforts to the creation of this center.

When the world is old, and Muhammad Ali is old

Muhammad Ali will always be,

The graceful butterfly with power deadly

His step will be light, his voice will be clear

Muhammad is ageless, he has nothing to fear

The image, the legend, the symbol of Muhammad Ali is ageless

A part of the world, like the pyramids, and the Grand Canyon

This can never change

Man is on this world for a reason:

You were given grace, guile, and power

A combination unique in history

You took these natural strengths,

You honed and refined them,

And you became the greatest champion in history

There can never be another Muhammad Ali

But history moves on,

Today, Muhammad Ali,

Many years after slaying the dragons,

Is not the young knight on a charger

No man is young, forever

But to Muhammad Ali

Atop the years we all gather

Has come Parkinson

Parkinson has slowed his step, more than his years

Has quieted his voice, more than his years

When I talked to you, and you said you didn’t want to be involved
with Parkinson

The thought came to me, as it did to you

That you are retreating, back- pedaling

Fluttering like a moth

And buzzing, not stinging like a bee

You have the ability to help people with Parkinson

And you must meet this challenge

When you go to your grave, as we all must

It will not be enough that you were the greatest champion in history

If Parkinson disease lives on.

Let Muhammad Ali be known, not as the man who floored Sonny Liston

A sledge hammer could have done that

But as the man who buried Parkinson Disease

Only the Greatest could do that

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