Rasheda Ali fighting to beat Parkinson's

February, 21, 2013
2/21/13
10:57
AM ET
Muhammad Ali's name was in the news recently when we heard that The Greatest was on the ropes, health-wise. His brother Rahman gave an interview to a British tabloid earlier this month and told the paper that Muhammad, 71, was ailing and might have just days to live.

That assertion was countered quickly by the Ali family, led by Muhammad's wife, Lonnie. Pictures were Tweeted out which showed Ali looking very much alive, getting ready to watch some football.

Muhammad's daughter Rasheda spoke to NYFightblog on Wednesday and reiterated that her dad, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, is doing as fine as can be expected, gets out and about and, in fact, goes to the gym to work out regularly.

"Every year some news outlet does some story, and they have an unflattering photo of my dad," Rasheda said.

"No one looks good all the time, even someone as gorgeous as my dad," she continued, chuckling. "When you have Parkinson's, some days aren't as good as others, and so maybe on one occasion, the muscles in his face were not relaxed. The news that his health is so poor is not true. I talk to my dad all the time. My kids will Skype and do Facetime with him. He sounds great, he's doing great."

So, what was up with Rahman's interview? Is there a family beef or something?

"I don't know my uncle that well. He doesn't see my dad that often, so I don't know where his words came from," she said.

Rasheda has been busy in the fight against Parkinson's. She wrote a book ("I'll Hold Your Hand So You Won't Fall: A Child's Guide to Parkinson's Disease") and is on the advisory board for a biotech company, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics. That New York-based company is engaged in promising clinical trials, she said, which are testing stem cell therapies to combat neurodegenerative diseases. She is hopeful, she told me, that strides made in that realm will be able to benefit her dad, soon.

You can hear more from Rasheda tonight; she will be appearing on Current TV's "Viewpoint," hosted by John Fugelsang (8 p.m.).
Michael Woods, a member of the board of the Boxing Writers Association of America, has been covering boxing since 1991. He writes about boxing for ESPN The Magazine and is the news editor for TheSweetScience.com.

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