SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- In a small gym in Snohomish, a group of boxers has been training for weeks, months and, in some cases, years, for their biggest fight: the battle against Parkinson’s disease.
At Snohomish Fitness Center, LaRae McCurry gets ready for a packed house.
“It is fairly small, but we make it work,” she said.
Tucked in the back of the gym is the Rock Steady training room. Every week, boxers come to strap up and work out.
No one has a match scheduled any time soon, but every single one of the boxers is in the fight for his or her life.
“When I first found out, I was like, 'Oh my God,'” said Denyce Koncoski.
Koncoski says thanks to Rock Steady Boxing, her outlook on her condition has since changed.
“It’s a gift because it keeps my spirits up,” said Koncoski.
She says she now feels grateful that she has found an opportunity to not only help herself, but help other people struggling with the disease.
“This helps with the exercise, the balance, the fatigue,” said Ade Eitner.
Eitner's symptoms started a few years ago, but he says boxing with Rock Steady has slowed the progression of the disease.
“The purpose of it is to fight the Parkinson’s symptoms,” he said.
For McCurry, these stories are especially meaningful to her, because every week there is always one fighter who is in the back of her mind.
“She came out to my wedding, and that was probably one of the last trips she took,” said McCurry.
Twenty years ago, McCurry’s grandmother battled Parkinson’s disease. McCurry says two decades ago, treatment for the disease was much different.
“When people were given a diagnosis with Parkinson's, they were told to go home and rest,” said McCurry.
Now, every week, McCurry is able to make a change in the lives of people like her grandmother. She says if her grandmother were still here, there is one thing she believes she would tell her.
“That she’s proud of me,” said McCurry.
And every week at Rock Steady Boxing, there is a packed room of boxers who are proud of her.
“It makes you want to live your life still,” said Koncoski.
For every one of these boxers, when life dealt them a knockout punch, they got right back up and kept fighting.
“You should never give up. That’s the worst thing you can do," said Eitner.
For more information on McCurry’s Rock Steady Boxing, click here.