Punching Out Parkinson’s at International Boxing Club

The program has helped many Toledo area residents keep symptoms at bay
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - With each set of instruction, the people in Harry Cummins’ class have a renewed sense of purpose.

“This has given me a second life really. It keeps me in great physical shape as well as mental shape. It helps me overcome the symptoms of Parkinson’s and I wouldn’t be the same without it,” said Jon White, a participant who’s been in the Punch Out Parkinson’s Disease program for three years.

Classmate Leonard Ely added, “I look forward to this every day and it helps me to think and get around a lot better.”

At the International Boxing Club in North Toledo, more than 40 people participate in the free classes in an effort to knock out Parkinson’s Disease – a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination.

Ellen LaForme has been in the program for two years. “Just because you’re given the Parkinson’s diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to sit back and accept it. There are things you can do so it doesn’t progress as fast,” she explained.

“You’re moving. You can’t sit around the house and cry about it. You got to move. Do something about it,” Paul Carollo said. He’s had the disease for 14 years.

Cummins, who founded the club more than 20 years ago said, “They inspire me. They just keep pushing or fall down and I go to pick them up and they say don’t help me up. I’ll get up. Those are champions. I call them champions because only a champion gets knocked down and they get back up. They keep fighting. They’re not going to let this disease defeat them and that inspires me and that keeps me pushing.”

The club is a non-profit business. It runs on donations and fundraisers and many of them have been canceled this year because of COVID-19. The group is able to host an event Thursday August 20th featuring boxer Micky Ward as the keynote speaker. He was made more famous when actor Mark Wahlberg portrayed him in the movie The Fighter.

If you’d like to donate to the International Boxing Club, see their facebook page here:

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