MUHAMMAD ALI’S FIGHT WITH PARKINSON’S

MUHAMMAD ALI AND WIFE LONNIE
WASHINGTON, DC
JUNE 11, 2001

In 1964, a twenty-two-year-old boxer known by his birth name, Cassius Clay, Jr. entered the ring for a match with Sonny Liston, who had been the world heavyweight boxing champion since 1962. Clay had spent the weeks prior to the match trash-talking Liston’s fighting abilities, trying to get inside his opponent’s head. Clay won the fight in a major upset. He then changed his name from Cassius Clay, Jr., which he called his “slave name,” to Muhammad Ali.

Ali described his fighting style as “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eye can’t see.” He considered himself “The Greatest.”

In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, he refused to be drafted into the United States military. He gave as reasons his religious beliefs and opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. He was arrested, found guilty of draft evasion, and stripped of his boxing titles. He was sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000, and banned from boxing for three years. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 1971.

Ali was provocative and outlandish and arrogant and fearsome. Before his famous “Rumble in the Jungle” match with George Foreman in 1974, Ali continued his pattern of verbal assault. “I wrestled with an alligator, I tussled with a whale, I handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail. I’m a bad man. . . last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”

Ali retired from boxing in 1981 at age 39. In 1984 at the age of 42, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Some reports attributed his condition to boxing-related injuries, but both Ali and his physician disputed this.

In 1998, Ali began working with actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, to raise awareness and fund research for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. In 2002, they made joint appearances before Congress to push the case. Ali worked with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease to raise awareness and encourage donations for research.

As his condition worsened, he made limited public appearances. He was cared for at his home by members of his family. Muhammed Ali died June 3, 2016 at age 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

If you have a family member who has a serious illness and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski

ONE MAN’S PROMISE TO ST. JUDE

Born January 6, 1912 in Deerfield, Michigan, Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz was the son of Maronite Catholic immigrants from Lebanon. One of ten children, he was raised in Toledo, Ohio, where he attended St. Francis de Sales Church (Roman Catholic), Woodward High School, and the University of Toledo. You know him as Danny Thomas, the American nightclub comedian, singer, actor, and producer.

Using the name Amos Jacobs Kairouz, he began performing on radio in Detroit in 1932. He moved to Chicago in 1940 where he changed his name to Danny Thomas (after two of his brothers).

Thomas first reached mass audiences on network radio in the 1940s when he played the part of the shifty brother-in-law Amos in The Bickersons. He also played the part of Jerry Dingle, the postman on The Baby Snooks Show. He had his own 30-minute weekly variety show called The Danny Thomas Show. It ran on ABC in 1942-1943 and on CBS in 1947-1948.

With the advent of television, Thomas starred in Make Room for Daddy, later known as The Danny Thomas Show. The show ran for eleven years (1953-1964).

As a “starving actor,” Thomas had made a promise to St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes. He had promised that if he found success, he would open a shrine dedicated to St. Jude. Thomas did not forget his promise. After he became a successful actor in the 1950’s, he and his wife began traveling the United States to raise funds to build St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. With help from Dr. Lemuel Diggs and close friend Anthony Abraham, an auto magnate in Miami, he founded the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee in 1962. Although St. Jude’s was named after Danny Thomas’s patron saint, it is not a Catholic hospital and is not affiliated with any religious organization. The focus of St. Jude’s is the research and treatment for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

According to https://en.wikipedi.org/wiki/St._Jude_Children”_Research_Hospital. “All medically eligible patients who are accepted for treatment at St. Jude are treated without regard to the family’s ability to pay. St. Jude is one of the few pediatric research organizations in the United States where families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. In addition to providing medical services to eligible patients, St. Jude also assists families with transportation, lodging, and meals. These policies, along with research expenses and other costs, cause the hospital to incur more than $2.4 million in operating costs each day.” Today, according to _Forbes Magazine_, St. Jude Children’s Research Center in Memphis, Tennessee, is the fifth highest fundraiser in the United States with $1.37 billion in contributions.

If you have a family member who has a serious illness and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski