Parkinson’s is a debilitating, obnoxious disease understood fully only by those who have it. When I was diagnosed in 2006, I thought my life was over. When I finally accepted the fact of my illness, I began to explore ways I could stave off the symptoms for as long as possible. I began working with a personal trainer, but I exercised only once a week. I had no motivation, no goal. Then I saw a 60 Minutes segment on a boxing program for People with Parkinson’s. It sounded like an oxymoron. Could people who can barely lift their arms don gloves and throw punches? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
I look forward to the classes, which I try to attend three times a week. The coaches are terrific. They know each boxer’s capabilities, listen carefully, and urge us to go the distance at our own pace. The well-trained volunteers keep us safe. The classes are always fun with a lot of laughter and camaraderie with people like me–people who understand. It’s tough love—more love than tough.
Rock Steady Boxing has been a lifesaver for me. Although I have many unpleasant Parkinson’s symptoms, almost two years after starting Rock Steady Boxing Hillsborough, I am strong. I’m standing straight and tall. I have more energy, and my balance is improving. When I hit that heavy bag, I feel powerful.