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Punching back against Parkinson's

Top Glove, Parkinson Canada and UNIFOR partner to bring Rock Steady Boxing to Sudbury
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Top Glove Boxing Academy is officially home to Rock Steady Boxing in Sudbury.

The program is internationally-renowned with more than 600 locations around the world to help those battling Parkinson's get active and help slow the effects of the neurodegenerative disease.

As many as 40,000 Ontarians are living with Parkinson's disease and 25 Canadians are diagnosed daily. 

Top Glove hosted a media conference on July 11 to announce their newest "super heavyweight title" sponsor, UNIFOR Mine-Mill Local 598. The union has jumped on board to assist in bringing Rock Steady Boxing to Sudbury to the tune of a $10,000 commitment over the next two years.

"We're always looking for ways we can give back in the community and where we can help out," said Local 598 president Marcel Charron. "Estelle (Joliat) and Chris (Sheridan) made a presentation to our executive board in May and we were pretty much hooked right away. It's a great cause and we're more than happy to team up with Parkinson Canada, Rock Steady Boxing and Top Glove."

Funding provided by UNIFOR will help cover the costs to send Top Glove head coach Gordon Apolloni to Toronto for a three-day course where he will become a certified Rock Steady trainer.

"I can teach them how to box, but this program is something much different, I don't have any experience training people with Parkinson's," said Apolloni. 

Sponsorship money will also enable Top Glove to pay their franchising fee to become an official Rock Steady Boxing location.

Chris Sheridan has long been involved in the Sudbury sports community, heading up the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame. Sheridan was diagnosed with Parkinson's nine years ago and was thrilled to see this program make its way to Sudbury.

"It's really a pleasure to be here to witness this great announcement," said Sheridan. "I'm really looking forward to this boxing program for its ability to control my tremors, improve my stability and balance and educate my brain to react quicker than it is now."

The benefits of physical activity have been clinically proven to slow the onset and reduce the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease and Rock Steady could benefit up to 100 Sudburians who are known to have Parkinson's.

"There are a lot of wonderful services for people in Sudbury who are living with Parkinson's, however we need more," said Estelle Joliat, community development coordinator, Parkinson Canada.

There's more than 600 of these Rock Steady Boxing franchises internationally and here we are in Sudbury with a national boxing coach and we didn't have this program? It took Gordon half a minute to say that he was on board with bringing this here."

Joliat explained that people with Parkison's that exercise daily fair much better with their symptoms than those who don't.

"Parkinson Canada can't endorse one particular program but what we can endorse is the research that shows that people who exercise on a daily basis derive great benefits in the way that they can mitigate their symptoms. That's why we're so excited that people with Parkinson's in this community will now have access to the benefits of this program."

Apolloni expects to hold a soft launch for the program sometime in August, with plans to officially launch Rock Steady Boxing at his gym in September.

Sponsorship opportunities related to this program are available for as little as $250, all the way up to $10,000.

If you would like to get involved, visit www.topglove.ca.



Matt Durnan

About the Author: Matt Durnan

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