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Mohammed Ali

Though suffering from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, Mohammed Ali still can joke about his illness. “It’s a blessing,” he says. “I always liked to chase the girls—Parkinson’s stops all that. Now I might have a chance to go to heaven.”

The former boxing champ sees his disease as creating another destiny for him as well. Ali’s travels now take him to charity benefits for organizations such as UNICEF, the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, and Best Buddies, an organization for the mentally retarded. Wherever he is, he plunges in among the sick and the poor, offering himself up as vehicle for worldwide healing.

“With everything I do,” he says, “I ask myself, Will God accept this? One day you’ll wake up and it’ll be Judgment Day, so you need to do good deeds. I love going to hospitals. I love sick people. I don’t worry about disease.”

Reader’s Digest, quoted from William Plummer in People Weekly, August, 1997, p. 83