Richard Ross // Pro's Players Fore Parkinson's Fund

Giving Parkinson’s disease a one-two punch

Richard Ross puts his boxing gloves on to work with his trainer.

Richard Ross puts his boxing gloves on to work with his trainer.

When it comes to Parkinson’s disease, there’s one thing you can’t do: stop fighting. Richard Ross has taken his fight to a new level — by putting on boxing gloves.

It’s part of a new program at Reid Hospital called “Rock Steady Boxing,” a unique form of exercise that attacks Parkinson’s at its vulnerable points. Classes focus on overall fitness, with non-contact workouts that include ring work, punching bags, jump rope drills, calisthenics and circuit weight training.

Richard, who lives in Cambridge City, began taking Rock Steady Boxing classes in April, traveling to Indianapolis three times a week for classes. “This class has made such a difference in our lives already,” said Richard’s wife, Linda. “We are thrilled that Reid is introducing it to our community— everything the hospital does is a first-class operation.”

Richard, 74, has been dealing with Parkinson’s symptoms — tremors, muscle rigidity, memory loss and sleeping difficulties — for about four years. Physical therapy at Reid has helped him with his balance and stability, but Linda knew he needed something more. “A rehab therapist at Reid told us about Rock Steady Boxing, and Richard was reluctant at first because he had never boxed before,” said Linda. “But I felt like it could be just what we were looking for. I called that same day for an assessment.”

So far, Richard has made strides with his flexibility, strength and confidence, and he no longer shuffles his feet while walking. But the impact of these classes is more than physical, Linda said. “Being around positive, energetic people who are fighting back against Parkinson’s has given us hope that we can, too,” she explained. “Richard has made new friends who are dealing with the disease, and as a caregiver I have found the support of other caregivers, too.”

Thanks in large part to Rock Steady Boxing, the Ross’ are able to enjoy many of the activities that they always have, such as doing landscaping projects at home and taking walks. She hopes that many community members will give Rock Steady a try. After all, she said, “you won’t know until you come take a look.”

 

The Pro’s Players Fore Parkinson’s fund was established by a group of community members who wanted to make a difference with Parkinson’s disease through a golf tournament. Through this event and donations to this fund, Reid purchased the necessary equipment to get patients on their feet and fighting. But it doesn’t stop there. You can help make a difference. Join the fight!