The sound of boxing gloves hitting their targets fills the third floor gym in the Professional Building on the NKCH campus. Coaches tell the 10 fighters to stand straight and move their feet. Their opponent is a formidable enemy: Parkinson’s disease. The fighters, age 50s-70s, are gearing up for the match of their lives.

In This Corner, Hope

Jill Wyman and Shanna Watt, Community Health and Wellness, work with the fighters in a program called Rock Steady. As certified Rock Steady instructors, Jill and Shanna use non-contact boxing techniques to help reduce, lessen or delay the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Steven Kosa, MD, Meritas Health Neurology, asked the hospital to become involved with Rock Steady because of its potential to help people lead healthier, happier lives. Shanna and Jill quickly became proponents. “Many of these people are told that today is the best they will ever feel,” Shanna said. “This can be a game changer, and it may provide a better quality of life for a terminal disease.”

In addition to the physical component of the program, participants also develop a bond. “There is a lot of emotional warfare caused by this disease. Everyone has a great spirit and wonderful sense of humor that the disease can’t take away,” Jill said.

Each fighter is encouraged to bring a Corner Chick or Corner Man to assist during the one-hour session. A new session of classes begins Sept. 26-Nov. 2. Register on our website.

Rock Steady instructors

Jill (left) and Shanna team up to help Parkinson’s patients


Tues. & Thurs., 10-11 a.m.

Tues. & Thurs., 6-7 p.m.


Tues. & Thurs., 1-2 p.m.


Sat., 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (beginning Sept. 30-Nov. 4)

A Parkinson’s support group also is forming soon.


Call  816.691.5095 for details or email instructors Jill Wyman or Shanna Watt.