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Patients punching out Parkinson’s disease at Rock Steady Boxing

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CONKLIN (WBNG) -- A group of patients are proving they can be fighters both physically and mentally as they take on the challenges in their boxing classes to help ease their symptoms.

Through Rock Steady Boxing Southern Tier, patients can sign up through a physical therapy program to stay in shape and keep their minds sharp. Parkinson's disease is a disorder that affects the nervous system, slowly starting with symptoms like hand tremors all the way to stiffness and cognitive changes.

"By participating in a class like this, it not only improves their balance and their strength, but they get to interact with other folks that are going through some of the same things they are," said Rock Steady Boxing coach, Marie Abell, who is also a Physical Therapist.

Nick Radice found out he had Parkinson's about two years ago and recently joined the gym, saying, "I think like a lot of diseases, people suffer in silence or by themselves. You get a lot of feedback here from people."

Others like Therese Gallo say they didn't expect to become boxers and do the exercises in the classes. Gallo says it was hard when she was first diagnosed.

"I didn't believe it," said Gallo. "I used a term, 'they say I have Parksinson's,' and I was kind of in denial for a while, but then I embraced it and figured I'm not going to let it get the best of me."

Finding hope and steadiness in their fight, the participants say feel better doing it with a group of people going through the same struggles without judgments.

You can click here to learn more about the program.

Anne Sparaco

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