By Kathleen Callahan

Dear 110 Fitness Community,

Hello!  My name is Kathleen Callahan, but I do answer to Kat, Katniss (my boxing name), KitKat…

I was diagnosed officially with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease, two + years ago but was experiencing symptoms for over 20 years — tripping, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, falling.   During that time, I was an avid runner/marathoner and believe the running provided protective self-induced physical therapy.  My running partner insisted I correct my gait and arm swing issues to better compete.  As my PD peeps know, making your body do what your brain is fighting against is like rubbing your head and patting your stomach.  Not easy, but possible with work.

We have such an amazing community at 110 Fitness, and extraordinary programming for those with Parkinson’s. Through volunteering at 110 Fitness and participating in my own classes I have met the most caring, funny human beings anyone could hope to have in their lives. I get so much more than I give as a volunteer.  I see love stories that have survived and thrive amidst difficult PD issues, medical challenges faced with courage and humor, amazing family support and remarkably positive attitudes. I am honored to know you all and have made some life-long friendships.   Life is complicated but 110 Fitness brings true joy into my life and provides me with a healthy, positive focus.

The people at 110 Fitness (too many to mention all of you/Jodie, Michelle, Dawn, Kim, Brett, Don, Anna and all the cornermen and PD warriors and caregivers) helped me to be emotionally and physically braver than I believed possible just a year ago. Thank you.

“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined.” – Dr. Seuss  

The poem below was written shortly after I started Rock Steady Boxing and expresses how I feel about 110 Fitness.

Climb   (Cheesy Cheer)                                            

When diagnosed with PD, depression took its toll.

I gave up joy and happiness and crawled into a hole.

I thought that life was over, that there were no good tomorrows.

I wallowed in self -pity and embraced a life of sorrow.

It kept me from achieving the best that I could be.

Until, I saw Rock Steady one night on our TV

I cautiously attended and found a place of hope.

The therapeutic exercise really helped me cope.

Our coach soon made a challenge – climb the rope and ring the bell.

My age, PD, self-doubt? Was he crazy? Bloody Hell!

My attitude was disabled. I had sadly given up.

A boost of confidence was needed. Small success to pump me up.

The great and powerful OZ helped me climb right to the top.

I rang that bell to my surprise and now I’ll never stop.

I know now there are adventures, different challenges to try.

I live to see my 110 friends. Body and soul have learned to fly.

Thank you all who make Rock Steady my secure and happy place.

You’ve changed my life immeasurably. You’ve put a smile upon my face.