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Ali’s daughter helps out with Parkinson's week

14 October 2005

Muhammad Ali’s daughter fighting to raise understanding of Parkinson’s

Having the world famous boxer Muhammad Ali as your father has made Rasheda Ali a fighter too. But she’s not fighting in the boxing ring, she’s fighting to raise understanding of Parkinson’s disease and the needs of over 4 million people worldwide living with this condition. One of these is her 63 year old father, Muhammad.

Rasheda is in New Zealand working with Parkinsons New Zealand to help promote Parkinson’s Awareness Week which runs from 1 to 7 November. She will be involved in a number of activities promoting better understanding of Parkinson’s, and her newly published book I’ll hold your hand so you won’t fall – a child’s guide to Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive condition which occurs when insufficient quantities of the chemical dopamine is produced by the brain.

“It is a very complex disease,” said Rasheda, “No two people are affected in the same way. As Parkinson’s is a movement disorder, all areas can be affected – from being able to get up and down from a chair to being able to laugh at a joke.”

The main symptoms of Parkinson’s are shaking or tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement, and impaired balance and co-ordination. People with Parkinson’s may also have fatigue, difficulty talking or completing simple tasks such as doing up buttons or drinking a cup of tea.

“The ability to communicate with other people is often limited by the effects of the condition on speech, writing, facial expression and body language. This can create a misleading and incorrect impression of the person being deaf, difficult, intoxicated or unintelligent.

“It is important for the public to have a good knowledge of the symptoms and their implications if they are to understand and help people with this complex condition,” Rasheda said.

During her visit Rasheda will be involved in a number of Parkinsons Awareness Week activities including opening a seminar in Auckland, a picnic for people with Parkinson’s and their families in Wellington, and a book launch in Dunedin.

Parkinsons New Zealand divisions throughout the country will also be running their own activities including street collections, seminars, stalls, displays in libraries and supermarkets.

Rasheda’s visit has been supported by the Hotel Intercontinental and Thrifty Car Rental.


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