Photo: Scott Webb

Parkinson’s Boxing Program Expands to Meet Local Need

Rock Steady Boxing Windsor-Essex, a local boxing program designed to help individuals fight back against Parkinson’s Disease, is pleased to announce we are expanding our program by adding two new classes per week in commemoration of Parkinson’s Awareness Month which begins in April.

The Rock Steady Boxing method is a non-contact boxing program that pairs traditional boxing training with rigorous exercise specifically designed to reduce and delay Parkinson’s symptoms.

Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, balance, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At Rock Steady the opponent is Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s causes a loss in many of the same elements that boxers condition to improve.

“Since launching the program in the fall of 2017, we’ve grown our program to nearly 20 members and continue to grow! Our boxers, men and women in their 40s to their 70s, have been fighting back against their Parkinson’s symptoms and creating a community of support for one another since we opened. As interest in our program continues to grow, we need to make space for new boxers by adding two classes to our regularly scheduled three classes per week. It’s a good problem to have because it means we are reaching those in our community who have Parkinson’s, and we are able to better meet their needs through specialized programming” says Border City Boxing Club President Josh Canty.

Pamela Brydges, whose husband Mark is currently enrolled as a Rock Steady Boxer praises the program saying, “This program is a godsend. It provides targeted exercises in a fun, non-judgmental and positive environment. It’s awesome to have a place to go where everybody understands what you are going through.”

Cherie Marion, whose father Dan Marion joined Rock Steady in December 2017, has commented, “Over the course of three short months, I have seen a significant change in my father’s mobility, speech, and sensory function. He looks forward to class so much that he is always asking when he gets to go boxing again.”

An estimated 1 in 500 people in Canada are living with Parkinson’s, and this program is the only of its kind in the Windsor-Essex area. Caesars Windsor Cares community support program has played a key role in helping launch the program for area residents.

“Caesars Windsor commends the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario on the success of their Rock Steady Boxing program,” said Kevin Laforet, Regional President Caesars. “Parkinson’s disease has affected many people in our community, including the families of our employees. We are honoured to have been the lead sponsor of this program giving individuals living with this disease a new beginning for life.”

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