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“Rock Steady has given me my life back” – The fight against Parkinson’s Disease

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – About 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. A number they say could be larger, and nearly doubled, because of those suffering in silence.

It's a disease with no cure, but one local group is finding the power to fight back, literally.

Rock Steady Boxing is a national program that teaches individuals with Parkinson's Disease how to box.

Rock Steady Boxing Head Coach at Club Apple Andy Anderson says, "This challenges your brain to do new things and is a help with the Parkinson's because it's challenging the physical and the mental at the same time."

Studies have shown exercise, especially the nature of boxing, to slow the progression of Parkinson's.

What makes this branch at Club Apple different from most across the country, is a deeper understanding of the disease.

"There were 34 people in my coaching class that were being trained as head coaches, and I was the only one with Parkinson's. And in talking to the people at the Rock Steady Boxing Headquarters, they said there were no other coaches that had Parkinson's," Anderson says, "When you come here, you'll find the coaches and instructors at the Rock Steady program understand what you're going through and you know, you don't have to explain it to somebody that doesn't know because we were going through, we're in the same boat."

Six years ago, Sandra (Sandi) Gordon brought Rock Steady Boxing to Idaho Falls at Club Apple.

She has since passed, but her determination to help people with Parkinson's lives on.

Robby Denning, the Club Apple Personal Training Director, says, "What Sandi taught me was; All these things are happening to them that they can't control, and then they start doing this, all the exercise and they feel better, they think better. But it's, they feel like they're fighting back against something that's just taken over their lives."

That being so true for participants like Scott Kent. He says, "All the general things that you do during the day I couldn't do for myself... I blame Rock Steady for helping me get my my life back. I mean, I can do everything for myself."

Not only does the exercise aspect of this Rock Steady group help, but also the comradery and connections to get through the dark moments. "We say it's our club that nobody wants to join. But everybody, once you get here, you'll find a group of people who are supportive, who are understanding. And if you come and participate, it will help you with your Parkinson's," Anderson says.

The first Tuesday of every month is a group session. This gives caretakers and those dealing with Parkinson's to connect and find out if Rock Steady Boxing is fit for them. The next group will meet this Tuesday at 2:15 upstairs at Club Apple.

For more information on how to get involved CLICK HERE.

The next group session takes place this Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.

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Kailey Galaviz

Kailey is a morning anchor and reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3


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