Andrea Bocelli Visits Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center
The Barrow Neurological Institute welcomed international star and renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli on Dec. 3 at a reception to express gratitude for his support for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center located at the Institute.
Bocelli and his wife Veronica, along with special guests from Celebrity Fight Night, toured the Center and then joined Muhammad’s wife, Lonnie, at the reception inside the Institute.
“When I was a child, I had a big passion for the Ali,” said Bocelli. “When I was in college and very far from family, I remember that when there was a fight with Ali I would stay up throughout the night to watch. I couldn’t imagine that one day I would meet this hero with a huge personality and now I feel myself very close to Muhammad and I feel very lucky to help. Together we can do many things.”
Often identified as “one of the most beautiful voices in the world,” Bocelli delighted the hospital staff and VIPs with a surprise performance during the reception.
Bocelli has been a longtime supporter of the annual Celebrity Fight Night charity events in Phoenix, and in the last two years also has been instrumental in making the new Celebrity Fight Night in Italy a success.
Dr. Robert Spetzler, Director of Barrow, told Bocelli and the guests, that Barrow has “always been home of excellence and that the generous support of the Italian-born singer, has helped keep our institution at the forefront of medicine.”
The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center was started in 1997 at Barrow, which is part of Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital. Since then it has grown into the most comprehensive Parkinson Center in the nation and attracts patients from around the world.
Celebrity Fight Night has been instrumental in the growth of the Center. It has raised $120 million for many charities throughout its 21 year history, most significantly the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
“Muhammad and I are so proud to see how the Center at Barrow has grown and how many people it helps every day,” Lonnie Ali remarked. “I can promise you that Muhammad and I want nothing more than to continue our efforts for the Center and this year, we really want to go to Italy with Andrea.”
Lonnie gave special thanks to Dr. Abraham Lieberman who started the Center and is one of Ali’s personal physicians. “Dr. Lieberman always goes the extra mile for us. As a matter of fact, he makes a personal house call to us every Sunday to check on Muhammad. They have a great time and usually watch a Western movie or two. Dr. Lieberman has been a tremendous friend and we are grateful.”