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Department: the Waiting Room

An Open Letter to Muhammad Ali

Captain, Myrtle L.

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Temple, Texas

Dear Champ Ali,

This letter is a long time coming because I've been a loyal fan of yours for many years. When local radio stations wouldn't carry your fi ghts, my childhood friend Marion and I would get in my little red Falcon, drive until the radio picked up the fi ght, then sit on the roadside punching the air as Howard Cosell described the action.

Now, at 67, I am recuperating from multiple strokes and fi nd you still my inspiration for “hanging in there.” The Neurology Now cover story on you and your battle with Parkinson's has lifted me higher and higher. Come on, my brother, we are heading for our 80s because we are champs for a cause: to be survivor and motivator.

I'm sure you get mail from millions of adoring fans. My letter is to tell you how much your stamina has meant to me for many years. I was working for the Army when you refused to go to war. On the job at Fort Hood, my coworkers quickly learned that I'd do your “Ali Shuffle” and rhythmically say, “I am soaked, dyed and fried in Ali,” so they backed off and cautioned others not to tease me about you. And I'm still just as mad about you today.

With sincere love, appreciation and admiration,

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Myrtle L. Captain

Temple, Texas

©2006 American Academy of Neurology

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