RALLY AGAINST PARKINSON’S

About Us

MISSION:  To be a resource for excellence, exercise, wellness and camaraderie for people living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), including care partners, families and friends.

What We Do

RAP supports the Rock Steady Boxing program at Forest Hill Health + Fitness with both funding and outreach, to keep the program free for participants. In addition, we support virtual boxing classes online for our fighters who can’t make it to the gym. We provide resources to the community about living with Parkinson’s. Our community outreach includes quarterly newsletters and monthly updates of educational information about PD and PD-related events. Our efforts are designed to educate the general public and offer a holistic view of overall wellness and quality of life for patients and caregivers. RAP members include men and women living with Parkinson’s, their care partners, families and friends. We are a non-paid, all-volunteer organization and there’s plenty of work to be done!  Click here to learn more.

Where Are the Opportunities?

RAP has teamed with Forest Hill Health + Fitness, where a successful program has grown. The emphasis on exercise opens the door to many opportunities for people with Parkinson’s. If you want to get involved, click here.

When Can You Start?

Rock Steady Boxing classes are held several times a week at Forest Hill Health + Fitness. Call 410-893-4153 to check days and times. For care partners and family members, RAP is always looking for volunteers to help throughout the year, but especially with big events.  Click here to learn more. Come join us in the Rally Against Parkinson’s.

It has been proven that exercise helps to diminish Parkinson’s symptoms.

Boxing is just one of the exercises that can target specific Parkinson’s challenge areas. Other activities like dance, swimming and cycling are also workouts that are intense and work the entire body.

Make a Difference

Real People. Real Results

Rally Against Parkinson’s (RAP) is a 501c3 non-profit, all-volunteer organization supporting Rock Steady Boxing and striving to be a resource for excellence in education, exercise, wellness and camaraderie for people living with Parkinson’s. Its members are fighting back with a variety of ways to live well with Parkinson’s. Exercise has proven to lessen the symptoms of PD, and patients have found that Rock Steady Boxing is one of the best techniques to do this. While there are numerous Rock Steady Boxing sites in Maryland, the only classes available in Harford County are at Forest Hill Health + Fitness, in Forest Hill, MD. Offered free to PD patients, this program grew from a mere eight participants in 2016 to more than 130 in 2019. When program funding became questionable, these boxers wouldn’t give in to intimidation. They’re fighting back through Rally Against Parkinson’s, to bring Rock Steady Boxing to more people in the county and to maintain its current success. From fundraising events to member donations, the RAP board of directors is working to create events and opportunities for funding so that RAP can help everyone who has been touched by this debilitating disease live better with Parkinson’s. You can help us by rallying with us! Check out our events listing and come out and support Rally Against Parkinson’s.

“I have been involved with the Rock Steady Boxing Program at Forest Hill Health & Fitness since Jan 2019.  The classes are well planned with an emphasis on balance, hand/eye coordination, cardio and cognitive health.  Our coaches keep the classes fresh and fun with great music. The results have been fantastic and I feel stronger, more confident and the progression of my Parkinson’s has been slow.   I have made wonderful friendships and we are truly a family that supports one another.  Rock Steady Boxing has made a positive difference in my life.  My husband, Richard, even goes to the gym with me and works out while I am in class.” 

Teresa B., RSB Particpant

“Teresa’s overall improvement is apparent and her doctor is impressed with the results of the Rock Steady Boxing.  It also gives me the opportunity to get out of the house and exercise on a regular basis.  We are thankful for FHHF and the RSB program!”

Richard, RSB Care Partner

“After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was fortunate to find Forest Hill Health and Fitness and the RSB program. This program and others being offered have connected me with folks facing the same challenges that I am dealing with. Regular workouts have improved my overall health, and have made me aware of how I can best fight back to help control my situation rather than have it control me. Dennis, Joyce and all of the instructors are excellent. They along with other members are like an extension of family. They understand the challenges we face and are very supportive.”

Gary, RSB Participant

What is RAP’s purpose?

Rally Against Parkinson’s is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization supporting Rock Steady Boxing and striving to be a resource for excellence in education, exercise, wellness and camaraderie for people living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers, families and friends.   We are fighting back against a debilitating disease that has no cure.

Where do the funds go?

The funds we raise go 100 percent to programming like paying gym costs and equipment costs for Rock Steady Boxing at Forest Hill Fitness so that those with PD can attend classes for free. We also support virtual boxing online and provide resources to the community in the form of newsletters, email blasts and our website.

How does RAP raise funds?

We have three major fundraisers per year, if we are able. Our annual Bull Roast is our biggest fundraising event, drawing hundreds of people for a night of food, drinks, music, raffles, silent auctions and more! So far, this event has raised more than $20,000 for RAP programs. We are also planning the first annual Golf Outing for this coming June, and we have a music event called Music on Main that will showcase various Harford County musicians in an evening of entertainment in Bel Air. We get a number of individual donations, and from time to time we hold raffles or personal fundraisers. Click here to donate.

What does it take to keep an organization like this running?

It takes commitment, a lot of good volunteers and a lot of good community support.  To donate, click here.  To volunteer, click here.

How can people get involved?

There are several ways to get involved. We need volunteers at every event. There’s something for everyone to do – from setting up tables for an event to taking tickets, running raffles, taking notes, donating baskets, etc. Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities. In addition, we need attendance at our events. Come out and bring your friends to our fundraisers! You can also make an individual donation by clicking here.

How many Rock Steady Boxing classes are available?

There are currently 6 in-person RSB classes available at Forest Hill Health + Fitness, and 2 online virtual boxing classes supported by Rally Against Parkinson’s. Click here for schedules.

What are some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Everyone experiences the disease differently. Some people have only a few symptoms, and some have more as the disease progresses. Some symptoms include:  tremor, freezing of gait, stiffness and rigidity, soft voice, shuffling while walking, slowness of movement, difficulty swallowing and cognitive issues. The number one non-motor symptom of PD is apathy.

How many people in Harford County have Parkinson’s Disease?

We estimate that there are more than 1,000 people living with Parkinson’s in Harford County. We have reached about 1/5th of them. It is our goal to reach more every year. As people begin to gain awareness of the disease and as more people are diagnosed, (60,000 new diagnoses nationally every year), we want them to know that RAP is here for them.

Why is exercise so important for Parkinson’s patients?

High-intensity exercise, like boxing, has been proven to help decrease the symptoms of PD. Exercise has also been attributed to a slowing of the progression of PD – it not only gives your body a great workout, it keeps all of the body’s systems in good shape – muscular, skeletal, respiratory, circulatory and cognitive. We encourage people to keep moving through exercise.

What would make someone want to come to a Rock Steady Boxing class?

The classes are fun and a great workout! We do a variety of boxing moves, plus exercises that strengthen coordination, agility, flexibility, balance and concentration, all of which can be affected by Parkinson’s in varying degrees. The exercises are done to music, taught by certified instructors and are an overall good time with friends. Because we are all fighting the same disease, we become like family to each other, sharing tips and stories and generally looking out for each other.

How soon after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s should a person join Rock Steady Boxing?

Ideally, the person has been participating in an exercise program already. Anyone can join Rock Steady Boxing classes at any point in their PD journey – from day 1 of diagnosis, if they choose. It’s never too early to try to stop the progression of the disease. Potential boxers will be screened and evaluated on their physical fitness level and the appropriate level of classes will be recommended.

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