Knocking Out Parkinson’s – Rock Steady Boxing Celebrates One Year Anniversary

By Beverly Perkins

Last year a brand-new program, Rock Steady Boxing (RSB), was introduced at the Michael-Ann Russell (MAR) JCC in North Miami Beach to help those living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The progressive disorder of the nervous system gradually affects movement and symptoms worsen as the condition progresses over time.

The free MAR-JCC program was spear-headed by Jennifer Enslein of North Miami Beach. Her husband has been battling Parkinson’s for almost five years and they both wanted to be successful in helping others fight the disease through Rock Steady Boxing.

“One year ago, I started with little money, 12 boxers and one RSB certified coach. A year later, and 135 sessions of hard work, we have 3 RSB certified coaches and 87 registered boxers fighting back against PD three times a week!” exclaimed Enslein. “This invaluable program is changing people’s lives one punch at a time!”

In late August, the group celebrated their anniversary with a big event. Approximately 230 people came out to show their support. Among the supporters were guest speakers, Dr. Carlos Singer, UM Hospital, Movement Disorders Dept. Director and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Both provided encouragement and support to the boxers on their daily and relentless efforts in their fight against PD.

David Seldin, one of the original 12 boxers and a program donor, said a few words representing the team of boxers. Dany Weil, RSB Coach and the MAR-JCC’s Health and Fitness Director, followed by speaking about the program and the progress the boxers have made.

The boxers then gave a demonstration of what a typical RSB session is like before lunch was served. The audience was also anxious to participate, and the entire gym was filled with amazing energy and emotion.

The goal for the upcoming year is to offer two more sessions per week, for a total of five sessions. This would allow the boxers to be placed into groups according to their PD stage.

“Ray Goforth, the assertive leader of 23,000 staff at Boeing, once said, ‘There are 2 types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.’ Well, RSB at the MAR-JCC is a life lesson to both types of people. When we have a chance to make a difference in this world, nothing should discourage us from that goal,” added Enslein.

Classes are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1-2 PM at the MAR-JCC, 18900 NE 25th Ave. in North Miami Beach. Contact Dany Weil, RSB Certified Coach and Director of the Health and Fitness Dept. at danyw@marjcc.org or 305-932-4200 ext. 136 or visit mar-jcc.rsbaffiliate.com for more information.