May May Ali and her father Muhammad Ali.

Ali Family

Muhammad Ali’s Daughter Brings Parkinson’s Fight To Central Park With Unity Walk

April 25, 2018 - 5:00 am
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The 24th Parkinson's Unity Walk will take place in Central Park on Saturday, April 28.

The purpose of the march is to raise funds for Parkinson's research. 1010 WINS' Sharon Barnes-Waters spoke with May May Ali, the daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, and Carol Walton the Chief Executive Officer of The Parkinson Alliance.

Ali said her father was misdiagnosed for a number of years.

"They diagnosed him with something called Parkinson Syndrome. And they said when they diagnosed him, that was in the 80s, that he had these symptoms of Parkinson that they wouldn't progress they would stay right there. So we're like, okay, where dad is a little slower, just slightly slurred speech softer voice, it was just going to stay right there. But then those symptoms began to progress. His balance got even more off and then the tremors came, so he was misdiagnosed for a few years.  No one knows exactly but I believe we saw symptoms 10 years before he was diagnosed."

She told Barnes-Waters it took a while for her father to become comfortable with the diagnosis.

"The pivotal moment of my father being comfortable with Parkinson's was when he became a part of a community. And that's how it got kick started, I believe during the 1996 Olympics when he lifted the torch and he realized people still loved him with Parkinson's," she said.

Walton said they are looking at research that could slow or halt progression of Parkinson's.

In addition to raising research funds, there will be patient resources available at the Unity Walk.

"We have all the major Parkinson's foundations, we have vendors to the Parkinson's community, we have medical device companies. So almost anything that you may need during your Parkinson's journey is either there on that day or you will have a phone number or a website where you will have a good resource from organizations that will tell you what you need throughout your entire journey with Parkinson's," she said.

Walton called it 'the most comprehensive' day of shopping that the Parkinson's community will ever find.

"Ask the health care expert booth is one of our most popular booths and it's staffed with neurosurgeons and movement disorder specialist and physical therapists and occupational therapists and all those wonderful people who donate their time and you can just go up and ask questions," she said.

Last year's event raised over $1.5 million, but organizers stressed that research must continue to be funded until a cure is found.

More information is available at the Parkinson Alliance website, or at 866-789-9255.