Deep River gym helps Parkinson's sufferers fight back


Alan Alda and Michael J. Fox are two of the estimated 500,000 people living with Parkinson's Disease in the U.S.

It can impact a patient in many ways -- But some are fighting back at the Squared Circle Studio in Deep River.

As often as three times a week, "15 seconds of hits then we're going to do five squats," Fran Lo, who is living with Parkinson's Disease said

They're all living with Parkinson's disease -- And they're not letting it stop them.

"This is a terrific program, everybody should do it," said Lo.

Fran Lo is a retired teacher who lives in Old Lyme.

"It's tough, there's things that you can't do - it changes from day to day," Lo said

But this class, part of a program called "rock steady boxing", focuses on helping people with Parkinson's through boxing, stretching, weights and other exercises. For Fran, from her mobility to an outlet for her anxiety, boxing has been the best.

"And there's tests that you have to do this thing and I didn't used to be able to do it very well with my right hand, which is my affected hand, I got that back," Lo said Thursday. "We're gonna yell one, it's gonna be one cross and you're gonna pull it right back to your ready stance for the cross."

"It's about not only the physical but it's about the community that's created, the support and everybody leaves here with a hug," Cindy Lignar said.

Instructors see the difference in people during and especially after class.

"They come here dedicated three days a week some of them when they can, they're just fighters, it's very inspirational," Britt Nystrom, Rock Steady Boxing Middlesex County said.

"When you finish every day, you feel so much better, your strength is better in your whole body," Irwin Kurns said.

Irwin Kurns diagnoses in 2012 had him on the ropes -- but one punch at a time, he won't be defeated.

"Don't let Parkinson's beat you, fight back," Kurns said.

The classes are offered in Deep River, Norwalk and East Hartford.

For more information, head to Rock Steady Boxing.

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