Like most people, I had no idea what Parkinson's disease (PD) really was. I only knew about the tremors. I knew it was the disease Muhammad Ali, Freddy Roach and Michael J. Fox have. Apart from that, I couldn't tell you anything more.
I didn't personally know anyone with Parkinson's. It had no impact on my life... That was until I met a client I was training, a neurologist. He told me about a boxing program for people with PD and said that with my knowledge in boxing and my passion for helping people I would be a great addition to Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson's.
I completed my training in June 2016. So much of my life has changed from that point on. I know where my life is supposed to go. I know that I am here to help people with Parkinson's. My group (we call ourselves "The Brady Bunch") has become family. We know when someone isn't there, we talk about our weekends, we joke all the time. They tend to pick on me the most — probably because I yell at them in class.
This is what brought me to Parkinson's Champions. After I retired from professional boxing, I still had the need for competition. I started completing triathlons, more specifically Ironman. I reached out to the Parkinson's Foundation and asked if they had a Champions triathlon team. They did not, but I was determined. So, I asked them what it would take to start a team for Parkinson's.
The foundation helped me create my own Champions event. On September 24, 2017, I completed my fourth Ironman 70.3 and crossed the finish line as a Parkinson's Champion. I ended up raising more than $2,000 and will continue to raise money this year as I compete in more races, crossing the finish line in support of everyone with Parkinson's, chanting as we do at the beginning of every boxing class, "Who are we? The Brady Bunch! What do we do? Rock Steady!"
Become a Parkinson’s Champions at Parkinson.org/Champions.