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Ventura County Boxing Club Offers Unique Classes To Help People Fight Parkinson's Disease

Members of special Parkinson's Disease classes at Title Boxing Club in Newbury Park work out to battle the medical problem

An estimated one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative illness which can cause tremors, balance issues, and other problems. A program in Ventura County is using boxing as therapy to help some people battling the disease.

It's a unique boxing class offered by the Title Boxing Club, with about as unlikely of a group of people you’d find trying their hand at boxing.

They are all men and women mostly in their 60’s and 70’s.

They’re fighting back against Parkinson’s Disease, which is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system which affects the motor system. Lisa Oliver, the General Manager of Title Boxing Club, says some people drive more than 60 miles to take part in the three times a week classes, because they’re the only classes offered in the region.

The classes are non-contact: the people don’t actually box each other, but do some of the same drills that boxers and other people use to stay fit.

The local program was the brainchild of a Newbury Park woman who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 32. Jennifer Parkinson was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 11 years ago. She heard about a program in Indiana where boxing classes were being used to help those with the disease, and wanted to try it.

She hired a local boxing trainer, and says she say huge improvements in her physical condition. When the Title Box Club opened in Newbury Park three years ago, Parkinson approached General Manager Lisa Oliver about starting a local version of the program.

Oliver said yes, the club got certified, and the program is now two years old and thriving. Attendees range from people in their 40’s to 90’s.

This Saturday, the Title Boxing Club and its Parkinson’s participants are holding a community open house from 4-6 p.m., to highlight the program and Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

For Jennifer Parkinson, who looks fit and strong at 43, she feels like she’s beaten back the disease, and says it’s exciting to see other do the same through the boxing classes.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.