Parkinson’s patients take up boxing to battle disease

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SAG HARBOR -

East End residents battling with Parkinson’s disease are using a new boxing program to help them battle their disease.

Organizers say the Rock Steady Boxing program helps the patients deal with the physical and mental aspects of the disease.

Trainers say the high-intensity interval training restores confidence and self-esteem.

Stan Stokowski, of Sag Harbor, says he was much more withdrawn and tried to keep his diagnosis to himself before starting the classes.

“It was definitely a feeling more of isolation,” he says. “I was reluctant to tell people about it.”

Another participant, Jean Holden, says the program is all about camaraderie.

“We lift each other’s spirits. You have to make a decision when you're diagnosed with this – [Parkinson’s] either has you or you have it. So, I decided I was going to fight, fight and fight some more,” says Holden.

Rock Steady Boxing has hundreds of chapters worldwide. The program in Sag Harbor was set up by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. It’s the only one serving eastern Long Island.

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