Photo by Diane Cox
Ron Daine of Edwardsville works on a punching drill with SSP Wellness Coordinator Lucas Hale. Daine was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012 and joined the Rock Steady Boxing program to help combat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and improve his quality of life.
ALTON | Senior Services Plus in Alton is taking steps to help residents battle Parkinson’s disease with a knockout approach through Rock Steady Boxing.
Those battling Parkinson’s can join the group, available four days a week for $40 per month for members and $50 for non-members.
“SSP has a Parkinson’s support group that meets every month,” SSP Wellness Coordinator Lucas Hale said. “We thought we could do better to serve our clients battling Parkinson’s by keeping them physically active. A lot of our clients are apprehensive to do things by themselves and many aren’t really sure what they are capable of.”
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, and its symptoms get worse over time. There is no known cause for Parkinson’s, and although there is no cure, treatment options such as medication and surgery can help manage symptoms.
The disease affects neurons in the brain that produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. As the disease progresses and the neurons fail, the amount of dopamine decreases and patients lose control of their movements.
“Studies have shown that Rock Steady Boxing is helping slow the progression of Parkinson’s,” Hale said. “Our goal for this program is to help our clients improve their motor skills, slow their symptoms and give them a better quality of life. We hope to see them build confidence and help eliminate their fears of being more active.”
Rock Steady Boxing was founded in Indiana in 2006 by Scott Newman, a former Marion County prosecutor who knows first-hand the challenges of living with Parkinson’s.
Diagnosed at age 40, Newman began working one on one with a personal boxing trainer and began seeing a major improvement in his quality of life, agility and ability to perform daily functions through the intense and high-energy workouts.
Edwardsville resident and retired employee of Illinois Electric in Granite City, Ron Daine was officially diagnosed in 2012 with Parkinson’s, but felt the onset of the disease prior to his diagnosis. His wife, Marilyn, takes the Rock Steady Boxing class right next to her husband to show her support.
“Anyone living with Parkinson’s should join Rock Steady,” Daine said. “I’ve been doing it since they started it here at Senior Services Plus and I do feel better, more steady. My wife says she’s already seeing some changes in me. It’s not easy, but I feel better doing it. I come all four days a week, even though I know I don’t have to come every day.”
Funding was provided through a United Way grant to cover the cost of equipment. Senior Services Plus covered the cost to have trainers certified to build and maintain the program. Eight individuals are participating in the program with open spots available. Classes are 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays.
Anyone interested in more information can contact Lucas Hale at Senior Services Plus at (618) 465-3298, visit the Rock Steady Facebook page or browse seniorservicesplus.org. Senior Services Plus is located at 2603 N. Rodgers Ave. in Alton.