Fighting one day at a time

By Allison Marlow
Posted 12/21/18

From the hall you can hear their voices, strong and sturdy.

“We have Parkinson’s disease

It won’t bring us to our knees

We may look like powder puffs

But were made of …

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Fighting one day at a time

Posted

From the hall you can hear their voices, strong and sturdy.

“We have Parkinson’s disease

It won’t bring us to our knees

We may look like powder puffs

But were made of stronger

Lifting weights makes us groan

It’s out of our comfort zone

But we do it anyway

To get stronger every day”

Susie Glickman leads this group in reciting a poem every time they gather, twice a week, to fight Parkinson’s Disease as it slows their bodies.

Their voices are strong, loud, determined.

Rock Steady Boxing, a national program, is a non-contact, boxing inspired program that focuses on hand eye coordination, agility, balance, cognitive issues and focus. Experts believe exercise is a key component of slowing the disease’s hold on the body.

Chris and Kristie Wheeles, who own Wheeles Karate Academy in Gulf Shores, didn’t hesitate to take on the training to become a sanctioned affiliate last year. As the only location to offer Rock Steady Boxing in southern Alabama, their classes quickly filled and people drove from up to four hours away to attend.

Wheeles said he knew they needed an Eastern Shore location. Frank and Jamie Leatherbury, owners of Dance Arts South in Fairhope, attended just one Rock Steady session and knew they had to help.

Now, every Tuesday and Thursday the ballet bars are pushed aside, and the men and women take their places in front of punching bags and jump ropes.

“This really touched me,” Jamie Leatherbury said. “You can see it work and improve their quality of life. We’re happy to have them here.”

Frank Leatherbury added, “So many of our family and friends have suffered from Parkinson’s. It’s unbelievable how many lives this disease touches.”

Glickman, of Fairhope, had been traveling to the Gulf Shores location and is delighted to have the program closer to home. On the inaugural day of the Fairhope class there were 11 boxers lined up and ready to fight.

“This is just wonderful,” Glickman said.