Champions of neurodegenerative disease

There is one thing that celebrities as wide-ranging as Aaron Copland, Glen Campbell and Muhammed Ali have in common: all three suffered from a neurodegenerative condition such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Many other famous names could be added to this list, as indeed could millions of others less well-known.

The effects of such conditions are particularly poignant in the case of someone like Muhammed Ali. The beautiful young man who would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” was reduced by the cruel sting of Parkinson’s. These roll-calls of celebrities suffering from these diseases that can be found online also serve as a moving reminder that anyone can fall victim to them – from A-list celebrities to the impoverished and obscure.

It also serves to highlight that the victims of these conditions are in many ways champions – fighting against the dying of the light and also on behalf of the many millions who will undoubtedly share their diagnosis in the future.

Read more of Jonathan Steffen’s essay on ‘The Management of Neurodegenerative Diseases as a Societal Challenge’ here.

Image credit: Muhammad Ali & Lonnie Angelo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

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