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

Muhammad ali graphic quote TR 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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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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