Knock Out Parkinson’s, Inc. (KOPI) is a dynamic 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to galvanize individuals living with Parkinson’s disease to fight back by participating in a non-contact boxing fitness program to improve their well-being in Rockford, Illinois. Courage. Power. Tenacity.
Boxing has proven to be a wonderful therapeutic activity. We are looking for assistance in keeping this program going at Core Combat Sports in Loves Park, Illinois. Boxing is not only an excellent activity for dealing with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, but also the support and bond that forms between the participants is priceless.
History of the Parkinson's Boxing Program
There are approximately 1 million people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease. There are about 60,000 cases diagnosed annually. At this point in time, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The disease affects people in different ways. Some of the symptoms are tremors, stiffness, slowness, or trouble with balance. Medications are available to alleviate the effects of the symptoms, but they do not help with all symptoms. Exercises, like boxing, can work with the medications to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients. Boxing helps with agility, footwork, balance and overall strength and seems to possibly slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
In 2015 Linda Palmer ran a Young Onset Parkinson’s support group in Rockford, IL. Linda also had training in elder care and her mother had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At a Parkinson’s conference she met John Zanocco, a Parkinson’s patient and the two started discussing the possibility of starting a Boxing for Parkinson’s class in the area. The therapeutic value of boxing had been reported on and boxing classes had been started in other areas of the country. Through a referral, Linda and John connected with Tommy Woodruff, owner and head instructor at Core Combat Sports in Loves Park, IL.
On October 4, 2016, with the assistance of an anonymous donor, the first class was held. Tommy, along with Tim Ramsyen, ran the classes twice a week with about twelve participants. Tim’s father also had Parkinson’s, so he was aware of the symptoms and needs of the participants.The group has been meeting ever since and acknowledge not only the physical and mental benefits that they experience but also the camaraderie and support that develops among the group. The gym shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic but has since been able to resume classes. The funds for the classes are running low as the donor moved out of town. Knock Out Parkinson’s Inc. was developed to assist in the financial support of the class.