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Ali Attends Fund-Raising Luncheon

May 19, 1998

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Muffled and bound by Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali still finds ways to shine.

Ali, 56, stopped in his shuffling tracks after a news conference Monday at a fund-raising luncheon. He pulled out a purple silk scarf, waved it around and then made it disappear in his hand.

``Do you see it?″ Ali mumbled to the small crowd, barely moving his lips. He waved his hands again and the scarf reappeared.

At one point, a man stepped in front of Ali and pretended to spar with him. Ali slowly raised his hand, pointed at his own head and twirled his finger.

About 700 people paid $150 each to have lunch with the former heavyweight boxing champion. A pair of Ali’s gloves were auctioned for $6,200.

The National Parkinson Foundation pays for research on the disease worldwide, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease is among major research hot spots in the country.

About 1.5 million American’s suffer from Parkinson’s. The degenerative disease affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, which controls voluntary movement. The intellect is not affected.

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