Frankie La Sasso and Brien Smith demonstrate a few combinations before class begins. (Samantha Anderson)

Boxers Punch Out Parkinson’s at Cloverdale gym

Box 2 Fit provides boxing programs, community for those with Parkinson’s disease

Frankie La Sasso is a firm believer that boxing is for everyone.

His boxing gym Box 2 Fit, which recently moved to a new Cloverdale location, offers lessons for boxers of all ages and abilities.

La Sasso’s gym is perhaps best known for its classes created for those with Parkinson’s disease — Punch Out Parkinson’s and YOPD Punchout.

Boxing focuses on agility, hand-eye co-ordination, footwork and endurance — all skills that helps someone with Parkinson’s fight back against the degeneration of motor skills, balance and speech.

When La Sasso learned more about the connection between the two, he knew running a boxing program for those with Parkinson’s would be a perfect fit for him. After all, he is a physiotherapist who has been boxing since he was six years old.

La Sasso completed the Rock Steady Program in Indianapolis, a course that certifies people to teach boxing to those with Parkinson’s, and began teaching Punch Out Parkinson’s classes in March 2017.

The program has since become immensely popular at Box 2 Fit, and the gym now offers YOPD Punchout classes for those with young-onset Parkinson’s disease as well.

“It’s just a real blessing to be able to do my passion and have a job that I actually really, really love to do,” said La Sasso.

Punch Out Parkinson’s also has a strong social component — when the Cloverdale Reporter visited Box 2 Fit, the camaraderie was immediately apparent when La Sasso’s students began to enter the gym.

One student was barely through the door when he asked La Sasso, who was nursing a cold, if he’d be able to keep up during class. Another boxer, Brien Smith, put on his gloves and immediately challenged the Reporter to a sparring match. La Sasso stepped in and offered to demonstrate a few combinations with Smith’s help instead.

“The greatest thing that I see is friendships being made, and really just seeing smiles on people’s faces when they come in the door,” said La Sasso. “It’s a sense of family. It’s more than just a bunch of people boxing.”

The boxers and their families also meet every month for a social, going out to dinner at a local restaurant. “It’s just a way we can get to hang out and do a little more than boxing,” said La Sasso.

The sense of community also extends to the family members that come out to support the boxers.

Kim Burns, who runs a support group for people with Parkinson’s disease in Langley, knows that first-hand.

La Sasso’s commitment to those with Parkinson’s is “overwhelming and sincere,” she said.

“There are many people with [Parkinson’s disease] living in isolation and stressed out caregivers that need a place to call home sometimes,” she said.

According to Burns, Box 2 Fit provides “that link of community that we do not otherwise have. [Parkinson’s disease] is a very solitary disease and is not just a movement disorder but a neurological issue that affects speech, thought and [contributes to] isolation.”

At the end of the day, La Sasso said the program is about giving “everybody an hour to really look forward to during the day,” he said. “They can come get an awesome workout, come hang with their friends and just enjoy themselves.”

La Sasso currently runs his original Punch Out Parkinson’s sessions during the afternoons, Monday through Friday, and offers sessions for those with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in the evenings.

The Box 2 Fit gym also provides lessons in cardio and technical boxing, classes for women, classes for youth, and has open gym hours for those who just want to hit the bags.

To learn more about the Punch Out Parkinson’s program, visit box2fit.com or drop by the gym, located at 17750 65A Avenue in Cloverdale.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Box 2 Fit’s Punch Out Parkinsons program runs Monday through Friday in Cloverdale. (Samantha Anderson)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Cloverdale hockey parents, players rally against mayor’s plan to postpone arena

The future Cloverdale arena is one of many projects set to be delayed in Surrey’s draft budget

Young players skate with Kazakhstan National Team in Langley

World Junior Hockey Championships competitor conducts drills with minor players

Langley woman directs popular gospel concert

Gail Suderman’s Good Noise gospel choir’s first three shows are sold-out.

Langley couple’s light display continues to grow

Troy and Debbie Warren set up their second annual light display in Langley City.

Canadian Museum of Flight volunteer was there from the beginning

Fond memories as the Langley aviation history exhibition readies for the holidays

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Most Read