YMCA Hosts Pedaling for Parkinson’s

parkinsonsThe Greater Scranton YMCA will offer a 12-week, group-based cycling class that may help in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. This class is coached by a certified Parkinson’s Cycling Coach.

Pedaling for Parkinson’s is an aerobic exercise program for adults with Parkinson’s disease. Adults ages 30 to 75 years and diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease can participate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from Parkinson’s disease as the 14th cause of death in the United States. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, “Exercise is an important part of healthy living for everyone, however, for people with Parkinson’s disease exercise is not only healthy, but a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and daily living activities, along with a potential neuroprotective effect.”

bike“Approximately 1 million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease and about 60,000 people are newly diagnosed each year,” said Shadia Lahlou, Senior Director of Chronic Disease Prevention, Greater Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs.

“Currently there is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, however, research has shown a 35 percent reduction in symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace – optimally, 80-90 revolutions per minute (RPM).

Session 1 of Pedaling for Parkinson’s will begin in February. The program is held weekly, Saturdays from 11 a.m. through noon, for 12 weeks. The program is free for Greater Scranton YMCA members and costs $10/class for non-members. Once interested participants have provided a complete Medical Screening and Consent Form to the Greater Scranton YMCA, a Y staff member will be in contact to schedule an orientation session.

To learn more, please contact Shadia at 570-828-3230.

Dunmore Rehab Staff Member Receives Parkinson’s Disease Training

Dunmore Rehab photoAshley Reedey, PT, DPT of the Dunmore Rehab Center was among 10 staff members from Allied Services Integrated Health System and other healthcare professionals from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania who attended a 2-day conference on innovative Parkinson’s disease care.

The conference delivered by Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery was hosted at Heinz Rehab Hospital in Wilkes-Barre recently. Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR!) is a dynamic, exercised-based approach to treatment developed in Tuscon, Arizona by Becky Farley, PhD, MS, PT.  PWR! advocates for exercise as the first line of defense for Parkinson’s patients.

Participants in the conference received training in essential functional exercises to target the primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as rigidity and problems with coordination. Allied Services physical therapy staff enrolled in the conference learned about the implementation and scaling of these dynamic movements depending on the severity of the disease and therapy setting.  

They also received training in the Exercise4BrainChange® framework applied to PWR!Moves® which allows for a comprehensive PD-specific approach that can target the multiple motor/sensory/cognitive/emotional symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

To learn about therapeutic approaches to Parkinson’s care at Allied Services including PWR! visit alliedservices.org or call 570-348-1360.  


Remembering Muhammad Ali

By Steve Svetovich

Not many can say they had a personal encounter with Muhammad Ali.

But former Dunmore councilman Paul Nardozzi did.

Ali, one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, as a heavyweight boxer called himself, “The Greatest.” He died last June 3 from complications due to Parkinson’s which ravaged his body from its onset in 1984. Ali was 74.

It is believed the Parkinson’s was brought on early due to the many blows Ali took to the head.

Ali autograph photoAli, formerly Cassius Clay, converted to Muslim and became Muhammad Ali in the mid 1960s. He was a three time heavyweight champion earning the titles in 1964, 1974 and 1978.

He was best remembered for his defeat over Sonny Liston in 1964, his three fights with Smokin Joe Frazier, including “The Thrilla in Manila,” and his “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman.

Ali entertained his fans by speaking in poetry and making outlandish comments about his opponents. His banter with late sports broadcaster Howard Cosell was classic. His three fights with Frazier were epic. Ali won two of those battles. In one of those wins he was quoted as saying, “It was the first time in my life I thought I was going to die.”

Nardozzi was able to experience the personality of Ali, the funny man and jokester, firsthand.

“I met Ali in Deer Lake,” said Nardozzi. “He used to train there. I used to go up there with my buddies Teddy Hadley, Joe Burke, Jerry Burke, Jack Neary and Kevin Oliver.

“We ran into one of Ali’s handlers there. He asked if I wanted to meet Ali. I said, ‘Are, you kidding me? Of course, I want to meet him.’ So he took us to his cabin. Jack Neary and I went to see him. We pulled into a complex and saw a sign that read ‘No training today.’ I remember seeing a lot of huge boulders with boxers names on them.

“We went into the cabin. There was a guy and his wife there. So there were only four of us. Ali did magic tricks for us while he was resting in bed. He talked to me. He was pretty funny and cordial. This happened in 1978. I was about 20 at the time. He was training for the Foreman fight.

“I went there every year and met him about seven other times. He was always comical, a clown, cordial to all the people there. He autographed a 1973 boxing magazine for me. He was on the cover.

“There is nothing like the experience of being in the same room, especially with a smaller crowd, with Muhammad Ali. Not everyone gets the opportunity to meet him and be with him and even get autographed items from him.

“I rank him as one of the top 10 athletes of all time. When he died, I just started remembering the times as a kid following him. My late dad and I used to go to a lot of boxing matches at the Catholic Youth Center (CYC). We were big fans of Ali and also of Larry Holmes, who had local ties and used to spar with him.

“And then I got to meet Ali. I had a personal encounter with him. I will never forget it. It was one of the biggest thrills in my life.

“He had a warm personality and loved to joke around. I could tell he loved people of all races during a time when there was prejudice and racial tension.

“I am saddened by his death. To me, he really was ‘The Greatest.'”

Ali came to Deer Lake (Schuylkill County) after refusing to serve in the Vietnam War and being banned from boxing.