Everyone, Everything, Everywhere

~ By By Jessica Edgar ~

In our world today, there are many organizations and groups and efforts in finding cures for diseases. Every one of them is fully appreciated and have hundreds to millions of dollars donated or invested or raised through various fundraising efforts to help find cures. Every day they get closer. We are thankful and grateful that so many people care enough and put all their efforts into ending diseases that not only end people’s life, but can slowly and painfully break down their bodies and minds and turn them into a completely different person.

While these tremendous efforts are going on, there are still the ones living day-to-day with these diseases and need help to function with them. There is medicine to help cope with symptoms. But you need a pill for this, a pill for that, perhaps taking a shot could alieve some symptoms. But over time, the prescriptions and cost start to add up.

Gary Sobol was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. Most people hear this as a death sentence and cope with the issues it brings. Gary wasn’t going to accept it. He decided he wasn’t going to lose his freedom and was going to do something about his disease.

So, taking one symptom at a time, he created an exercise. There are about 30 to 40 symptoms related to Parkinson’s. In about ten months time, Gary developed a program working with Neuroscientist, Dr. Becky Farley in Tucson, AZ. Gary went from shuffling his feet and writing scribbles to hiking and designing a whole exercise program to help not only people with Parkinson’s, but those with all sorts of degenerative brain diseases.

What makes Gary’s program stand out? Not only are the exercises designed to improve everyday functions of the body but he also incorporates cognitive function. Multi-tasking is difficult for those with Parkinson’s Disease. An exercise such as rocking back and forth and swinging your arm while counting backwards is an example from his program. These types of exercises help to slow the decline of the disease.

Gary has created a nonprofit company, GZ Sobol’s Parkinson’s Network, that has patented the program and now certifies trainers to teach the class. A class that started with Gary as the trainer with five students in 2012 has grown to 15 states, over 500 certified trainers, and thousands of participants. There is no cost to take a certification class as Gary wants this program to be available to as many people as possible. He still does about 90% of the training himself. All you have to do is email or call him. Along with Barbara Jaynes, his partner with the Parkinson’s Network, they will reach out to YMCA, recreation centers, or other places in your area to inquire about training. The Parkinson’s Foundation (Different from Gary’s Network) can be approached about offsetting costs of travel and other expenses. Gary’s goal is to be in every state by 2020.

The GZ Sobol Parkinson’s Network is seeking the funding it needs to grow across the country. Most of the money in research foundations support the search for a cure and not into programs designed to help people cope with day-to-day functions. Programs that allow them to keep their independence and not rely on prescriptions to cope with their symptoms. What the Parkinson’s Network needs is for you to SPREAD THE WORD about their program to whoever will listen.

The class itself is emotional. Many think it is hopeless when diagnosed with a degenerative disease. But with Gary’s program, they regain their freedom. People can come with their wheelchairs and walkers. But after some time, they may not need them anymore. One lady was confined to her wheelchair and thought she was for the rest of her life. In class, she would stand for 10 seconds then move on to 20 seconds, then 30 and so forth. Then she started coming to class with a walker. After some more time, she placed the walker to the side and walked on her own! She had regained her freedom and confidence!

The GZ Sobol’s Parkinson’s Network exercise program follows the three E’s*.

Everyone: is welcome at our classes. This includes people using walkers and wheelchairs who are accompanied by a caregiver, friend, or relative.

Everything: Our classes can be taken by people with Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other neuro-degenerative diseases, older adults trying to age as best as they can, people with balance issues, etc. Even our caregivers who come and assist participants say they enjoy and benefit from the exercises!

Everywhere: As we continue to expand, managers in our seven U.S. regions are in the process of starting up classes all over the country. As of July, 2017, we are currently in 15 states.

The success stories are many and give a new lease on life. I strongly urge you to visit Gary’s website: www.parkinsonsnetwork.org Watch the video, Highlights of Parkinson’s Network Foundation Class. You might get emotional just from watching. The classes are motivational, inspirational, and most importantly positive. Gary wants everyone to know that Parkinson’s Disease is not a death sentence but just an obstacle that doesn’t have to slow you down.

Gary is currently doing a study with the nation’s leading Parkinson’s researcher, Dr. Margaret Schenkman, at the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus in regards to the exercise program. It should be completed at the end of this year and we will be following up with Gary and Barbara Jaynes about the study.

*The Three E’s were copied from GZ Sobol’s Parkinson’s Network pamphlet.