Rock Steady Boxing to participate in ‘Moving Day’ fundraiser

Program was founded in 2006 as first effort of its kind for Parkinson's health

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by Mary Chapman |

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Rock Steady Boxing, an exercise program designed for Parkinson’s disease, will participate as a national team in Moving Day, a Walk for Parkinson’s, a fundraiser sponsored by the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Between April 6 and June 10, participants will “move for Parkinson’s from anywhere” to raise funds to help improve care and make progress toward a cure. Participants can join a team, establish one, or register as an individual. Route distances will vary and the foundation is offering event fundraising and social media tools.

Each walk location in the annual “celebration of movement” will feature a family-friendly course, a children’s area, and a relaxation tent for caregivers. There will also be a “movement pavilion” that will offer yoga, dance, tai chi, Pilates, and other activities that have been shown to help manage symptoms of the progressive neurodegenerative disease.

The organization will also host Moving Day @ Home, a virtual walk that participants can take part in wherever they are at their own pace for a period of their choosing. They can also organize a team and invite others. Participants in the virtual program will have access to an audio broadcast of Parkinson’s-related material to connect them to the event.

“Moving Day, a Walk for Parkinson’s, is not just a fundraising walk. It’s a passionate community united in honoring loved ones with Parkinson’s, raising awareness about Parkinson’s disease and embracing the power of exercise — proven to help manage Parkinson’s symptoms,” reads the event’s website.

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As a national team, the nonprofit Rock Steady Boxing hopes to increase its reach by connecting with Moving Day participants and organizations nationwide, and help raise awareness about Parkinson’s, which is believed to affect some 1 million U.S. residents and 10 million individuals around the world.

“At Rock Steady, we are very excited about serving as a National Team for Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day events around the country,” Ryan Cotton, Rock Steady Boxing president and CEO, said in a press release. “The Parkinson’s Foundation has long been a supporter of Rock Steady affiliate locations and we look forward to working with our 800+ affiliate locations to bring together the Parkinson’s community to raise awareness of PD [Parkinson’s disease] and the importance of exercise for people with this diagnosis.”

Founded in Indianapolis in 2006 as the nation’s first boxing program of its kind, Rock Steady Boxing was crafted to help patients at all stages of Parkinson’s. It employs a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum with the aim of trying to stave off disease progression, decrease hospitalizations, and help patients better manage their symptoms.

Research indicates exercise can help those with the disorder with activities of daily life. Exercises that emphasize core strength, gross motor movement, rhythm, and balance can aid gait, posture, range of motion, and flexibility.

“I’m so happy that Rock Steady Boxing will now be part of all Moving Day events across the country, particularly for those in the community who have yet to experience it,” said Terri Weymouth, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 55 and has been a program participant since 2009. “My diminished symptoms and great physical condition are proof that exercise is truly as important as the experts stress it is for people living with Parkinson’s.”

This year, the Parkinson’s Foundation will present exercise programs such as Rock Steady Boxing at three new locations. Moving Day Salt Lake City takes place on May 4 while Moving Day Portland, Maine kicks off June 1. Moving Day Indianapolis will join the organization’s fall program on Sept. 21.

So far, some 186,000 Moving Day participants have raised nearly $45 million to help fund research and community programs. More information about the event in English or Spanish is available at the foundation’s Helpline at 800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).