PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)- Living with Parkinson’s is a daily struggle and even simple day to day tasks can be complicated, but one group is hoping to make life a little easier.
Rock Steady Boxing started about 7 months ago after James and Karen McGee got the idea for it from a convention they attended. The two realized the need for services in Bay County specifically when it came to the Parkinson’s community.
They have a strong following with ‘fighters’ being those with Parkinson’s who participate in the class and ‘supporters’, the spouse of the fighters. The classes are held twice a week for two hours each and consist of stretching, breathing exercises and of course boxing drills.
Jack Fritz was diagnosed 9 years ago with Parkinson’s and found Rock Steady Boxing around the same time it started.
“The first time I heard about it, I thought, wow, that’s craziness. Why would a 79-year-old man want to get out there and box? Then I saw an exhibition and I still felt the same way but after, I could see the benefits,” said Fritz.
Throughout the past few months, he says he’s already seen an improvement in his quality of life. “I take 25 pills a day just to be able to get up and walk around, this boxing has been such a great thing for me,” he said.
Since he’s joined the class, he no longer needs to use a cane and now he packs a mean punch. Fritz is not the only one who’s been helped. Ron Twilley said this is only his second class and he’s already seeing change.
“My balance seems better, I’m really impressed with the support that the group gives to the members that come out to fight, it’s a very close community it seems,” said Twilley.
Owner and coach, James McGee and his wife, say they’re amazed at the difference Rock steady Boxing has made.
“When we thought about this, we hoped it would do what it does. It’s amazing the difference if you talk to our fighters from they started 6 months ago, in a matter of just months, they could tell the difference,” said James McGee.
The class builds stability and strength for those battling Parkinson’s and the McGee’S encourage others with Parkinson’s to come out and give it a try.
“If you don’t like it, don’t stay. But you will make an incredible difference in your life if you do this,” said McGee.
The group has a few events outside of their boxing classes that are coming up and open to the community.
Panama City Parkinson’s Support Group:
- December 10, 9:30-11 a.m.- 309 R. Jackson Blvd Beach Chamber Boardroom
- January 14, 9:30-11 a.m.- R. Jackson Blvd Beach Chamber Boardroom