Central New York, Community

Rock Steady Boxing Brings Balance to Locals with Parkinson’s Disease

By: Logan Grossman (Liverpool, N.Y.) — As many as one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s Disease and 60,000 more people will be diagnosed with the disease this year. One organization is fighting back against the disease that causes tremors, shakes, loss of balance and difficulty speaking.

Rock Steady Boxing is in international organization which provides boxing and exercise clinics to those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. One of the newest franchises is in Liverpool, New York where owner Jeannette Riley knows how important exercise is for those with P.D.

“Thankfully, they have discovered over the last few years that exercise, intense exercise in any form, helps almost everybody,” Riley said.

Riley teaches several classes a week, with each group of clients working out twice a week, in hour-plus long sessions. These sessions begin with warm-up exercises and stretches and build to using punching bags.

The Rock Steady in Liverpool opened its doors last June, and many local residents living with P.D. were happy to hear that the organization was coming to CNY.

“I heard about (Rock Steady) on 60 minutes,” Thomas Kennaw said. “But, we didn’t have one here. Then my daughter read an article on Syracuse.com about one coming to Syracuse.”

Since Riley has opened the door to Rock Steady Boxing in Liverpool, she has seen nothing short of a positive response. Riley sees it as more than a physical therapy or training session. It is chance for people with the disease to come out of their houses, socialize and communicate with people who understand what they are dealing with 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Parkinson’s is an isolating disease,” Riley said. “(Rock Steady) helps them connect with people who truly understand. Even their husbands and wives don’t fully understand. You can’t unless you have (Parkinson’s).”

Rock Steady is steadily expanding across the country and the globe. As of February 2017, there are over 300 Rock Steady locations, across 45 different states and six other countries and the organization continues to grow.