Fighting Parkinson’s: York County Gym joins global boxing program

SHREWSBURY, Pa. (WHTM) – Three days a week, at the Southern Branch YMCA in Shrewsbury, a boxing class is held.

On Thursdays, Ron Hoeck is there and enthusiastic, “I’m very thankful, it just comes out. I might get on some people’s nerves!”

Ron is one of a million Americans with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic neurological disorder that cause sudden and uncontrollable movements of the body. Generally as the disease progresses, its symptoms become worse and often times debilitating.

But this class is making a difference in the lives of many. It all starts with a pair of boxing gloves.

David Munch says it best, “When I hit the bag I imagine it’s Parkinson’s.”

The program is a part of an affiliation through Rock Steady Boxing, having over 360 certified classes around the world. Its goal: use boxing exercises to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

“We started a program in July called Exercises for Neurological health,” says Wendy Grundar, the director for Rock Steady at the Southern Branch Y,  “We had two people come, who had Parkinson’s. We started the program as a Rock Steady program in January.”

Carla Womer is from Camp Hill, and travels each week to attend the class. When she noticed she was having trouble walking 9 years ago, it eventually led to her diagnosis of early onset Parkinson’s.

Since then, she’s seen dramatic improvements thanks to the Rock Steady program, “Oh it’s just improved my balance. It’s improved my flexibility, my stamina. I can do any physical activity better than I was doing it. Emotionally it’s good. You need the support of the other people, a chance to laugh together.”

For information on when classes are held, you can visit the YMCA of York and York County’s website here.

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