Ali’s Last Match: Getting Through Emotional Trauma from Illness

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Muhammad Ali was known for being skilled, outspoken, and an all ‘round amazing person. His story will continue to stand as an inspiration for people of all genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The iconic moment of Ali raising the olympic torch with determined, but shaking, hands will be burned into the minds of people around the world for years to come. It acts as a symbol of not only his perseverance, but his fight against Parkinson’s disease. The emotional trauma a disease like Parkinson’s can tear a person apart, but Ali faced it as just another challenge.

Emotional trauma doesn’t have to defeat you

“In making his diagnosis public, he provided hope for millions of others and helped the cause immeasurably. We celebrate his extraordinary life and contributions to the cause and send our deepest condolences to his wife Lonnie and his family. In all areas of life, he truly was ‘the Champ’ and ‘the greatest.'” —Parkinson’s Disease Foundation President Robin Elliott


Three years after his official retirement, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984. He became the most famous person to fight the disease at the time and started the longest match of his life. He battled the disease–never shying away from the spotlight–for 32 years. To lose the fast, tight reflexes he became so known for would create an emotional trauma many couldn’t come back from–but Ali faced it as just another challenge.


He used his fame as a way to spread awareness for the disease. He and his wife co-founded the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona; the center continues to give comprehensive care to others struggling with the physical and emotional trauma from the disease.

His example will live on

Parkinson’s disease took many things from Muhammad Ali, including clear speech, agile reflexes, and more. Despite this, he continues to stand in the spotlight and speak for crowds about his experience with Parkinson’s and the need for further awareness. His memory will live on as a message to others: Don’t give up, move forward, and believe in yourself. He pushed through an immense amount of physical and emotional trauma to bring awareness to the world. When given an impossible hand, he made it work and became an inspiration for others suffering from traumatic diseases.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral or emotional challenges. We strive to help each student reach success.

For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today!


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