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June 10, 2016

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Ali teaches us to ‘go confidently’
Ali teaches us to ‘go confidently’
As we mourn the loss of Louisville’s native son, a reflection on what it means to be your greatest self.
Published June 09, 2016
“I’ve never let anyone talk me into not believing in myself.” – Muhammad Ali

Words to live by. What a gift to be blessed with this seemingly inborn confidence. It’s something many of us strive for every day. And it’s something we at Norton Healthcare had in mind when we created our Go Confidently speaker series.

It’s clear from the outpouring of emotion following Ali’s death that “going confidently” through life is exactly what he taught so many of us to do.

As I reflect on The Champ’s accomplishments, I wondered what role he played in the lives of our Go Confidently speakers.

John Baumann, a 2015 Go Confidently speaker, has Parkinson’s disease and says he looks to Ali for inspiration. Baumann told us to tap into our inner strength when going through life’s challenges, to have the confidence reflected in Ali’s now-famous sentiment: “I am the GREATEST. I said that even before I knew that I was.”

Baumann shared his thoughts after learning of Ali’s passing: “Tears have been rolling down my cheeks off and on since I learned of Muhammad Ali’s hospitalization and subsequent death, (because of) what Muhammad Ali has done since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He remained Muhammad Ali over 30 years living with, fighting, dealing with and embracing this horrific disease. He kept his identity. That’s why tears roll down my cheeks — tears of admiration, tears of strength, tears of pride, tears of power, tears of hope. He was the same comedian, magician, showman, family man that he has always been. The difference that Muhammad Ali made in my life, 15 years with Parkinson’s, is to set aside the fact that I have Parkinson’s and go on living. Be lovable. Inspire others.”

To our Go Confidently community, we know you are mourning the loss of our beloved native son in your own way. Join your like-minded friends, family and neighbors at our next Go Confidently experience on June 30. Allison Massari will deliver another message that Ali personified during the last years of his life: to intentionally make a choice to find joy alongside pain.

Thank you, Muhammad Ali, for the inimitable role you play in helping us all go confidently.

– Elicia Newcom Gregory

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What a wonderful presentation, John! You were wonderful and I am so grateful you shared your story. We were receiving excellent feedback in the chat too:

That was fantastic information, thank you for your candor and humor! Awesome 🤩 talk and info ! Thanks much. It’s hard, thanks for sharing. Thank you for sharing your story and for your positive attitude. It’s important to hear this message. This was just what I needed. Thank you so much. you are an inspiration, thank you!

As we stated, we hit 100 participants at 3:09!

Thank you again,

Eden Feldman, LCSW Associate Director, Community

I do not have the words to thank you enough for making the trip to Dallas to do two presentations for us at CC young. You truly are special and a rockstar and clearly touched many lives today. It is a victory! I was able to run all over campus and welcome guests and host you. It was a victory. Thanks to you for helping me think that way. We will catch you on the next round. Get some rest my friend. Safe travels. And know we love you from CC Young and Dallas!

Patty CC Young and Dallas

“After two years of not being able to hear speakers in person , I was thrilled to have John Bauman as a speaker at our “ Living Well With Parkinson’s’ Gala!. Not only was John engaging and inspiring to get to know off stage , on stage he truly drove home the theme of empowerment to our audience and left our growing community of attendees with several “ aha “ moments and desire to hear more. He spoke from personal experience as a Parkinson’s patient ,inspiring the audiences motivation to truly wish to make a difference and uniting us all in our humanity. Attendees after listening to John , felt inspired to make a difference in the world and do their part to create change for those living with Parkinson’s. My only regret was not being able to spend more time with John and I look forward to having him speak again to our audience.”

Naomi Wong WPP Program Manager

John’s message of hope, inspiration and laughter was ideal for anyone living with PD. He was extremely flexible and a delight to work with.

Leisha Phipps, MSW Program Director - Dallas Area Parkinson Society

We all felt inspired and enjoyed listening to your presentation. Even though we are not living with Parkinson’s, we felt boost of motivation to continue helping those who are living with this disease. I am motivated to make more personal phone calls to people living with PD and asking how they are doing. Sometimes that “extra” bit of kindness truly makes a difference to someone. I am also motivated to research program ideas and partner with other organizations that may have similar values.

I learned that life is unexpected and that you cannot control it. What matters is your attitude!

-Great way to end the day, brave man, thank you very much!

-Good, excellent, great, outstanding speaker, very moving!

-Inspirational who just “gets it”

-Positive thinker and very funny!

-Honest speaker but also humorous!

Parkinson’s Society of Southwest Ontario, Canada, Symposium Keynote Presentation

“whatever hand life deals you, whatever life changing adversity you have to endure, you still have some control over it.” “You don’t have to just to live well,” he advises,” but live an Amazing Life.” The formula he proposes: Faith in yourself, discipline, determination, desire, intensity, and inner strength.


Yes, you touched every person at our conference, who will in turn change and impact so many others. The feedback from our participants was overwhelmingly positive. You are the only speaker to ever receive a standing ovation. Thank you for taking time to share, motivate and inspire. We are blessed to know you.


I will be honest. During the first 10 minutes of your presentation, I started reading work related material on my laptop. For surely, I had watched your You-Tube and seen your videos and knew what to expect. Surely, as a therapist I had studied this disease, the pathological components, the psychological components, the treatment alternatives……..Surely, I understand it.

Not so much. You caught my attention and I was enthralled. You were able to couple the impairments you experience with the emotions felt. You walked us through your life with the disease through “your eyes”. A perspective that a therapist/nurse rarely has the chance to hear. We get so busy telling patients how to deal with x, y and z, but our eyes are blurred by the science of it all most of the time.

You did it through truth, Through your humor, humility and determination to tell your story. One that most deservedly needs to be shared.

I will advocate to have you share your story. I appreciate your determination, diligence and dedication.