Caregiving and fighting like a Champ, Lonnie and Muhammad Ali

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muhammadMany years ago, while working as a waitress at Alexander’s Restaurant, I had the opportunity to serve Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie. They were seated briefly in the cocktail lounge while waiting for their dinner table. I was working in the lounge and was so excited to have the “Champ” seated in my section. I was way too shy and felt I would be intruding by asking for an autograph, so I didn’t, although I was dying to get one. Anyway, I did earn some bragging rights that day to tell my kids and friends later in life, that ” I waited on the great boxer Muhammad Ali,” even though the usual response back to me was, ” you didn’t spill anything on him, did you?” Anyone that knows me, knows I am a klutz! Thankfully, no, I didn’t spill anything on them that day but I remembered them as a very sweet and kind couple.  Lonnie selflessly tended to her husband and made sure he was comfortably seated at the table. It was uneasy to see the strong man I had idolized, who I recalled boastfully saying he could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” now appearing much weaker. In my younger, naive days, I had heard he was struggling with a disease but didn’t know what it was or understood much about it. I came across a picture of the couple and an article on Pinterest about Lonnie’s role as a caregiver for the Champ.

In this article, Lonnie shares some suggestions on living life as a caregiver and her love and relationship with Muhammad Ali that has lasted over 50 years now. She also sheds light and awareness on Parkinson’s Disease and how her husband, “the Greatest, Muhammad Ali, fights the disease with the same optimism and positive attitude that earned him the name, “the Champ.”

To read the article please click here http://www.aarp.org/