Boxing Club provides therapy for people with Parkinson's Disease

By  | 

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) An estimated 1 million people are living with Parkinson's.

There is no cure, but now a group in Grand Forks is fighting back.

Valley News Team's Ryan Laughlin has how throwing a punch could have the power to heal.

Eddie Obregon knows how to fight.

"We've had the gym for over 25 years."

Eddie has been boxing since he was a kid, now he teaches others.

"Coming down to the end. Time to pay it forward."

The Marine Veteran has seen the highest level of the sport.

"I've officiated in the professional ranks, doing professional fights."

But, now he's pulled into a whole new ring.

"I did not ever think that would come about."

By Roxee Jones.

"Parkinson's disease is a relentless and insidious disease. You can fight back by exercising and hold it at bay."

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly. Often times it starts with tremors. But, slowly movement is taken away. Eventually complications can lead to death. There is no cure.

Something Roxee knows well.

"My dad is, you know, my hero like dad's are. He was diagnosed about 15 years ago with Parkinson's."

The hardest part?

"Parkinson's tends to take away, you can't see their real personality. I know who my dad is, and he is a hard worker."

Today, her dad is 85. It's because of him Roxee has worked so hard to establish Rock Steady Boxing in Grand Forks.

The first of its kind in North Dakota. Once a week people with Parkinson's put the gloves on, and fight back.

"This is the new medicine for Parkinson's"

"I'm walking a lot better than I was before and the only thing I've done different is Rock Steady Boxing."

Some studies suggest the movements in boxing could slow, stop or possibly even reverse the progression of Parkinson's.

"Parkinson's does not define us. But, courage and strength do."

"Their will to persevere and carry on, that's what drives me."

A fight against disease, one punch at a time.

The earlier you can catch Parkinson's disease the better. Early signs are loss of your sense of smell, sleep disorders and difficulty swallowing. Research suggests there are genetic links and it's more likely manifest as people age.