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Parkinson's Program officially returns to JCC

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Posted at 8:19 AM, May 12, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — For many of us, it felt like we were sitting around a lot this past year waiting to be active again. However, for people living with Parkinson’s Disease, sitting around is not an option.

This month the JCC officially welcomes back dozens of classes through The Philip Shayman Parkinson’s Program.

“The isolation of COVID, in general, has been particularly difficult with people living with Parkinson’s Disease,” said Parkinson’s Program Leader, Pnina Levermore.

The most important thing a person living with Parkinson’s Disease can do is stay active and all of a sudden they were being told to stay in the house in 2020.

“When they don’t move they stiffen and everything that affects them, all the manifestations of the disease get worse,” said Levermore.

Wayne Maclaughlin has been attending classes at the JCC since 2018 and is active in their Rock Steady Boxing class.

“I didn’t realize that it’s not just the classes themselves, when you do the exercise it’s getting out of the house, it’s getting to the class, it’s a lot of steps,” said Maclaughlin.

Many of their classes were done virtually, but coach Beth Maberry said it’s just not the same.

“The joy of being here in person to be physically active and to be forced to be a bit more physically active than they are when they’re at home,” said Maberry.

This weekend the JCC is holding a special Spring Fling welcome back event to reintroduce all of their classes and instructors returning in person to the Parkinson’s community.

“When you come into a room with people with Parkinson’s you don’t have to feel like you are being stigmatized or you are any different than anyone else you are in a room full of people living with the same disease that you are embracing,” said Crista Ellis, with the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Philip Fleming and his wife Susan moved to Tampa Bay specifically for these programs.

“And now we are back in person and it's amazing,” said Susan.

The Spring Fling is this Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC on Howard Avenue. It’s open to the general public.

For more information, email pnina.levermore@jewishtampa.com.