By Ellie Beatty

When I was nicknamed “Fist” in college for hitting a Parisian guy who was being fresh with a friend of mine, I never dreamed that I would end up cornering in a boxing gym! At the time the nickname was particularly funny because I was a slight person, and not at all the boxing type.

But now, every Thursday morning, you will find me at 110 Fitness in Rockland, serving as a “cornerman” or volunteer for boxers who are battling Parkinson’s Disease.

The program, Rock Steady Boxing South Shore, is run by Brett Miller, who stays informed and participates in the latest in Parkinson’s research, and who works to give each boxer hope and strength as they face this debilitating neurological disease.

After observing Bud participate in a few classes, I began to serve as a cornerman, working once a week.  Corners assist boxers with the mechanics of the workout, and root for them to win in the fight, not only with the bags and pads which they are beating, but also in the fight with Parkinson’s.

Before bringing Bud the first time, I was dreading seeing the other boxers and the different manifestations of PD that appear in each person.  This gym is a special place, however.  While we all recognize that Parkinson’s is degenerative and there is no cure yet, this is a place of hope and joy, where the facts about PD are not ignored but where they do not have mastery over us.  We are fighting back and empowered, both boxers and cornermen, and in that fighting together there is joy and camaraderie.

Cornering at Rock Steady Boxing South Shore is a high point of my week.