Due to the overwhelming success of the Parkinson Foundation’s first-ever Moving Day Atlanta in 2013, a grassroots fundraising and awareness walk, more than $49,000 will be invested locally in programs to help people living with Parkinson’s in the metro Atlanta area improve quality of life for the Parkinson's community.
“The Parkinson's Foundation community grants enable us to partner with local organizations that provide life-changing services to the Parkinson’s community and display our mission in action."
One such local organization is the PD Gladiators, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization devoted to combating Parkinson’s with vigorous exercise. Like Moving Day, their mission is to focus on the role of exercise in slowing the progression of the disease and to make community-based exercise programs available to people living with Parkinson's and their care partners.
Larry Kahn, Chief executive officer of PD Gladiators, is personally motivated to see this program succeed — he is living with Parkinson’s and is a true believer in the medicinal value of vigorous exercise.
"Vigorous exercise has most definitely improved my gait and given me an overall feeling of taking back control over my life. My main goal is to get the attention of the doctors who are delivering a diagnosis of Parkinson's and encourage them to prescribe exercise to their patients," Kahn said.
Kahn’s wife, Ellie, facilitates a local support group for people with Parkinson's and their caregivers and she also attends boxing, Zumba and Tai Chi classes with him. “We’re in this together,” she said. Both Ellie and Larry encourage caregivers to attend PD Gladiators group exercise programs with their spouse or loved one.
PD Gladiators was the recipient of a $15,000 grant this year to subsidize group exercise classes throughout metro Atlanta and to promote the PD Gladiators metro Atlanta Fitness Network to practicing neurologists, physical therapists, other healthcare providers and the PD community.