A Ring of Support: Boxing for Parkinson’s Relief

♪ We’re healthier here ♪ – Hello, I’m Hartford
HealthCare’s Tina Varona. Michelle Hespeler was diagnosed
with Parkinson’s disease at the age of just 40. But with the support of her medical team at the Chase Family
Movement Disorders Center and her family, she was determined to not let her disease beat her. For Michelle Hespeler, – Hun, you wanna get a pie plate. – [Tina] Family is everything. – Good job, Ky. – [Tina] It’s plain to see
that life for this family is about being together. – I have my two kids’ senior pictures. – [Tina] But in the summer of 2006, Michelle and her family
were about to embark on a very personal journey. – I started having trouble
putting my flip flops on, and typing a little bit,
and my arm just felt stiff. And someone said to me, “Michelle, are you okay?
Your arm’s not swinging.” – [Tina] None of it made sense. Michelle, a gym teacher,
a lifelong athlete, a seemingly healthy person
who had just turned 40. – I put it all together and I’m like, I have something with my
arm, something with my foot, and that’s kinda where it all started. – [Tina] Weeks later,
Michelle was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease. – [Michelle] It’s a day
that you’ll never forget when she gave me that diagnosis. I was devastated. I cried a lot. – [Tina] Through research,
Michelle had learned about the benefits of boxing for Parkinson’s and formed a program for
patients here in Connecticut. – There are just so many aspects of boxing specifically as an exercise routine that is beneficial for
Parkinson’s disease. – [Tina] Dr. Toni de Marcaida
is the medical director of the Chase Family
Movement Disorders Center. – Back up. – [Toni] The footwork of
boxing helps with agility, helps with balance. The forced movement to try to do a punch stretches out the arms. – In the end, it’s a ring
of support from her family to the inspiration Michelle
provides to so many. It’s truly a win-win. For more information about
the Hartford HealthCare Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, go to
NBCConnecticut.com/ConnecttoHealthier ♪ We’re healthier here ♪

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