When Jennifer Parkinson was 32 years old, she was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease. This was 13 years ago.
“In that time there was no exercise, nothing recommended. I was just told ‘Here’s a pill,’ and ‘I’ll see you in six months,’” said Parkinson.
A few years later, as her disease was progressing, Parkinson found out about boxing as physical therapy.
“I started doing that, and it completely changed everything. It changed my symptoms around. It really brought a better quality of life.”
She later founded Neuroboxing, a wellness education platform focused on neurodegenerative diseases, along with Josh Ripley.
“Our mission statement is to educate and to make those aware of all the different exercises that are available for individuals with Parkinson’s. (Researchers) found that exercise is one of the best therapies that you could possibly do for Parkinson’s.”
Neuroboxing, along with many other organizations, attended the Moving Day at Valencia Heritage Park on Saturday, April 28.
The main event of the Moving Day was a “Walk for Parkinson’s,” where attendees walked to raise funds for the Parkinson’s Foundation. There was also a kid’s area, a Movement Pavilion with yoga and pilates, and booths manned by organizations offering help to people with Parkinson’s, such as Neuroboxing.
“If I know anything about Parkinson’s—I have Parkinson’s myself, I’ve had it for six years—if you’re not moving, you’re dying,” said Amy Carlson, a Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador.
While many attendees suffered directly from Parkinson’s, others had instead witnessed Parkinson’s in their loved ones, such as Santa Clarita councilmember Cameron Smyth.
“This has a special meaning to me, because my father, who’s a former mayor here in Santa Clarita as well, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007, and ultimately succumbed to complications of the disease in 2012. “
After councilmember Smyth gave a speech, attendees gathered at the starting line and began their walk.
“This is a really amazing event,” said Kristy Pomes, manager of marketing communications at the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We host 39 (walks) across the nation, and they are each an opportunity for people in the Parkinson’s community to come together, move, be together, be a part of the community, and funds raised help the Parkinson’s Foundation support their mission of providing expert care to more than 100 thousand people with Parkinson’s in the world, and other amazing things.”