Rock Steady Boxing is a contactless boxing program held in Ilderton, Ontario. A boxing specialty store for people with Parkinson’s disease.

Over the years, the internationally recognized program has benefited people with Parkinson’s disease and is expanding across the United States.

For Bob McMillan, the class will help improve the coordination and balance he’s been working on since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015.

“I’m looking forward to it. I may be shaking quite a bit, but I can still throw good punches,” McMillan said during the weekly class.

There is no cure, but physical activity like boxing has been shown to help delay symptoms in some patients. There are difficulties in how to take, impairment of coordination movement, etc.

“Parkinson’s disease takes a toll on every muscle in the body and mine has gotten much worse over the last few years.”

McMillan trains at his Ilderton Road location twice a week, usually in classes of an hour or more. He has been attending Deidre O’Connor’s class for his four years. O’Connor also owns Rhythm n’ Box Studio.

“Bob has gone through many hardships in life with Parkinson’s disease, but he’s been one of my biggest supporters and continues to push every day.

With a love of teaching and training, O’Connor began running the program seven years ago.

“We started out with five people and it got bigger,” she said.

While the focus of the class is on boxing, O’Connor explained that the sense of community is what brings people back together.

“Supporting each other is very important, and the physical side is very important. We also focus on vocalization, eye-hand coordination, balance, and core work,” she said. .

“This group inspires me,” said Rock Steady Boxing Coach Jennifer Kirkoff.

“They have to come and exercise and be active to hopefully slow the progression of symptoms.”

The class was originally in short supply in London, but O’Connor said it moved to Ilderton during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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