People with Parkinson’s fight back against the disease

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LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. - Punch after punch, people with Parkinson's are taking a swing at their disease. The West Shore Academy of Martial Arts is offering a new class called Rock Steady Boxing. It's designed specifically for people with Parkinson's and it uses movements backed by medical research to help manage symptoms.

"It's a lot of hard work," said Charles Lady, who attends the classes.

Three times a week the classes are offered to people with Parkinson's giving them another way to help manage their symptoms.

"What we do is kind of push the boxers here a little more than they would push themselves," said Vince Vergara, West Shore Academy of Martial Arts owner. "By doing so they actually almost feel results instantly, maybe during but definitely right after the class."

The class introduced in October is open to people of all ages and stages battling Parkinson's. The classes, held three times a week, run about an hour and 10 minutes and cover everything from core to cardio and balance to overall strength. It's giving people in the class the confidence they may have lost after their Parkinson's diagnosis.

"One gentleman actually left forgetting his cane because he didn't need it," said Vergara. "And those are the kind of things that let me know that what we are doing is worth it."

The  man who forgot his cane is Charles Lady, who began experiencing Parkinson's symptoms a decade ago. While these classes help him manages his symptoms, it also does a lot more than that.

"Not only in exercise," said Lady. "But there's camaraderie and support group so we're not alone in this neurological problems."

Rock Steady Boxing is offered at West Shore Academy of Martial Arts Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1p.m. to 2:10p.m. More information on the class and pricing can be found here.

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