Donors Fund Major Expansion of Center

The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow was renovated in 2014 thanks to donor support.

Nearly 10,000 patients cross the threshold of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center each year, and that number is expected to rise with the completion of a $5-million expansion project in 2014 that has doubled the size of the center. The game-changing expansion was possible because of support from the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation and other generous benefactors.

Patients and families appreciate the spacious new facility—and the center’s wide breadth of services. At the heart of the expansion is a large gym and activities area where patients attend support programs and exercise classes in everything from tai chi and yoga to dance and pole walking.

The center treats those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, with the goal of enhancing the quality of their lives.

According to the National Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, about one million people in the United States have Parkinson’s, with nearly 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Without a cure in sight, that number is expected to increase substantially with the country’s aging population, says Medical Director Abraham Lieberman, MD.

The facility is recognized as a National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence. It is the home of the world’s leading program for deep brain stimulation, a complex surgical treatment that uses a “brain pacemaker” to manage the symptoms of movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia.

The recent expansion received national recognition when AARP published an article announcing the completion of the project in its June bulletin.

“People think celebrities get better care, but we want the standard of care here to be the same for everybody,” says Lonnie Ali in the AARP article. Ali’s husband, world-renowned heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 20 years ago. The couple works closely with the center to broaden services and assure the community’s needs are being met through outreach programs.

“Muhammad is ‘the Greatest,’ and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center truly reflects his vision,” says Lieberman.


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