Happy Birthday, Champ! Celebrating Ali’s 70th Birthday
Celebrity and philanthropy came together at the Keep Memory Alive 16th annual Power of Love Gala Saturday, Feb. 18. The event, also celebrating the 70th birthday of “The Greatest™,” Muhammad Ali, raised more than $11 million to support the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky.
Celebrities from the sports and entertainment world gathered at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas to honor the life and legacy of “The Champ.” The evening included live performances and heartfelt tributes from Quincy Jones, LL Cool J, Cindy Crawford, Lenny Kravitz, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Anthony Hopkins, John Legend, Cee Lo Green, Snoop Dogg, Emeril Lagasse, David Beckham, Brad Garrett, Kelly Rowland, Andre Agassi, Stefi Graf, David Copperfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Ken Norton, Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, Roberto Duran, Evander Holyfield, Leon Spinks and more. Silent and live auctions of trips, jewelry and sports memorabilia helped raise millions of dollars in support of brain disorder research.
Stevie Wonder led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” and President Obama sent a birthday video message for Ali, calling him a true champion. Organizer Larry Ruvo said, “Tonight was the greatest of all time. The biggest night I can ever remember in Vegas, and I’ve lived here all my life.”
Keep Memory Alive, the fundraising arm of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and sponsor of the event, honored the boxing legend’s contribution to the world and helped raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, ALS and Parkinson’s, the disease Ali has been battling since 1984.
The gala’s celebration for Ali aligns with the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s recent launch of a landmark study examining the long-term brain health of professional fighters. Aiming to improve the safety and health of fighters, the study will help determine whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, along with other tests, can detect subtle changes in brain health that correlate with impaired thinking and functioning. Center researchers, based in Las Vegas and Cleveland, hope the information uncovered by this research will eventually result in better ways to prevent permanent brain injury in fighters as well as in others who may incur brain trauma.
To make a gift supporting the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health or any area of Cleveland Clinic, visit our secure giving site or call Institutional Relations and Development at 216.444.1245 or toll-free at 800.223.2237, ext. 4125.