Surrounded by medical heavyweights, Muhammad Ali continued the fight by honoring 50 top surgeons and physicians at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Barrow at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center is home of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
With approximately 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year, there are currently 1 million Americans with Parkinson’s disease. As of yet, there is no cure. Ali, who is a three-time Heavy Weight Boxing Champion and the most famous athlete in history, attended the ceremony. He was diagnosed with the disease in 1984.
Ali and his wife, Lonnie, invited Barrow doctors to the special awards event to help commemorate the Institute’s 50th anniversary. Ali is also celebrating his 70th birthday this year.
“Muhammad and I want to share in the celebration of Barrow’s anniversary by honoring the outstanding group of neurologists and neurosurgeons at St. Joseph’s,” said Lonnie Ali. “Together we are working to bring direct access to the same standard of medical care that Muhammad and I enjoy, to all those who suffer with Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders.”
The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center opened at the hospital in 1997. It has grown into the most comprehensive Parkinson’s treatment center in the nation. The center’s doctors were among the 50 from Barrow who were honored.
The center is largely funded by the generous donations of Celebrity Fight Night which has donated almost $20 million to the hospital since the star-studded event started 18 years ago. Ali is always the honored guest of the evening. This year’s Celebrity Fight Night is March 24 and will feature such headliners as Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Miley Cyrus and Lionel Richie.
“Muhammad and everyone associated with Fight Night wanted to salute the extraordinary medical community who are helping to lead the fight against Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions,” said Jimmy Walker, the founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “You are the real stars and the heavyweights of the medical community,” Walker told the Barrow physicians as he, Muhammad and Lonnie handed individual trophies to the 50 physicians.
St. Joseph’s Barrow is ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the nation for neurological disorders and attracts patients from around the world. The Institute performs more brain surgeries than any hospital in the United States. ”Muhammad Ali is a remarkable inspiration to our entire medical community every day,” said Barrow Director Dr. Robert Spetzler. “Over the next 50 years, the progress in the fight against Parkinson’s will see dramatic advances and the physicians at Barrow will continue to play a major role in this battle.”
Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, is internationally recognized as a leader in neurological research and patient care.
Established in 1962 Barrow treats patients with a wide range of neurological conditions, including brain and spinal tumors, cerebrovascular conditions, and neuromuscular disorders. The Barrow Neurological Institute is consistently rated among the Top 10 best hospitals in the United States for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News and World Report.