Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. passed away on June 3, 2016.
One of the world’s most respected, influential figures of the 20th century touched the lives of millions of people through his bold, courageous and philanthropic persona.
He was a champion boxer who fought not only
in the ring but fought in life for the things that he believed in most.
I remember when I was a little girl; my father packed up the van and took us to the USA to visit family in Michigan.
My cousin Mario was very ill at the time and waiting for a liver transplant so the time that we spent together was very important to all of us.
One of the most memorable moments of that trip was my cousin suggesting that we go to see the champ. He said that the champ gave him hope and that he was going to fight like him through his illness.
As a young athletic girl I knew exactly who Cousin Mario was referring to. It was Muhammad Ali. I knew this especially because boxing was one of my dad’s favorite sports to watch. I would stay up with him and watch the matches whenever they were on TV.
My family lived in Berrien Springs, Michigan, not too far away from the one of the world’s greatest boxers known literally as the greatest of all time.
We all got in to Dad’s mini-van and eagerly began our journey for the Dixon’s to meet the Ali family. Mr. Ali opened his house to neighbours, welcoming them to meet him.
He was an international celebrity and at a young age I was thrilled that I was going to meet a phenomenon who showed me what the true definition of success was.
I learned early in life through this experience that success is about the legacy you create. Through commitment and some hard work you can be anything that you want to be.
Muhammad Ali was a fighter who focused on social responsibility, respect, giving back and personal growth.
He inspired young people like me to pursue my dreams and gave people like my cousin the hope to live.
My cousin received his transplant and fast-forward over a decade later, he is healthy, happily married and has a beautiful baby.
If one man can have a positively huge impact on a couple of kids, imagine what kind of impact you can make in the lives of others when you aim to be great leaders like Muhammad Ali…
Swing like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.
Rest in peace Muhammad Ali!