Rock Steady Boxing fights back against Parkinson's disease

Rock Steady Boxing fights back against Parkinson's disease

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill (HOI) -- -

Tremors, freezing in place, loss of balance, and loss of vocal projection. These are some symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 

A disease that deteriorates motor skills, balance, speech and sensory functions in those diagnosed. 

At Rock Steady Boxing, the boxers are living with these symptoms to varying degrees.

And the opponent is Parkinson's. The non-profit program helps people at all stages of the disease and the work outs can be adjusted for each boxer's individual needs.

"If anybody is fighting Parkinson's, this is definitely the class to come to because no matter how you think you are, we're in all different phases of the disease at this time," Rock Steady boxer, Lisa Polley, said. "So you don't have to be the best, you can just do at your level and still feel good." 

The boxing program began in 2006 in Indianapolis and trainer Molly Smeltzer brought it here to Bloomington just seven months ago.

"We've had quite a few of our boxers come back now with incredible news from their neurologist where they have seen huge improvements," Rock Steady Boxing coach, Molly Smeltzer, said. "And I mean it almost brings tears to my eyes when I can see how happy they are and when they're feeling better."

"I can from a stopped position, I can go into a jog position," Rock Steady boxer, Hank Nauor, said. "But I can just go from point one just go into a sprint. So it gives you an idea of how it helps us as individuals fight the disease."  

Fight back. That's the Rock Steady motto.

And the boxers are in each other's corner to serve as a support system.

"Keep moving and get started in a program like this right away," Rock Steady boxer, Tony Foster, said. "I wish I would have done something like this years ago. But keep moving is the main this and stay positive." 

"If you know somebody with Parkinson's or you have Parkinson's yourself and you're thinking I should be doing more or I want to do more just come and watch a class," Smeltzer said. "Come in and talk to the boxers and you'll see you don't have to be a boxer to do this. I think everyone, at every stage of Parkinson's, has some fight in them. And that's what we do here. We fight back." 

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