Changing the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease through YMCA and PD Gladiators partnership

ATLANTA, Sept. 2, 2014– The YMCA of Metro Atlanta and PD Gladiators want to give people with Parkinson’s disease a different outcome by offering specialized programs to help them to live better. Access to effective, fun and sustainable activities and programs will be offered at five local YMCAs.

In metro Atlanta 13,000 residents are afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive, debilitating neurological disease that has no cure. Researchers call for vigorous exercise and goal-directed activities to achieve actual changes in the brain that may slow disease progression or offset Parkinson’s disease deficits.

Yet, only a minority of people suffering from the disease are physically active, and even active exercisers may not be engaging in the variety and intensity of activities required to obtain the most benefit.

“We are proud to be associated with a community leader like the YMCA,” says PD Gladiators CEO Larry Kahn. “Many people with Parkinson’s disease miss a valuable opportunity to slow their disease progression with vigorous exercise. The Y’s involvement will help us spread the word that there is a very real cost to insufficient physical activity. We hope neurologists will send a strong message to their Parkinson’s patients to become more active.”

The new PD Gladiators at the Y partnership consists of special member rates for PD Gladiators, their families or care partners. At select YMCAs, members will have access to free group exercise classes adapted for people with Parkinson’s. One-on-one instruction, coaching and monitoring through The Coach Approach, an exercise support process designed to build the exercise habit, is tailored to each person’s preferences and abilities. Group exercise classes and water aerobics are other available options, and the Y and PD Gladiators will expand specific group exercise opportunities for people with Parkinson’s in the coming months.

“The Y can help to affect positive change for people with Parkinson’s disease and their families,” says Kristin McEwen, YMCA of Metro Atlanta group vice president. “This group can come together in local communities to learn, support each other and gain access to additional resources like specialized Y wellness coaches. We are planning additional activities and classes for greater benefit as part of this wellness partnership.”

The partnership includes wellness programs at five area YMCAs: Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA, 2220 Campbellton Rd., Atlanta, 30311, 404-523-9622; Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA at Buckhead, 1160 Moores Mill Rd., Atlanta, 30327, 404-350-9292; Decatur Family YMCA, 1100 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, 30030, 404-377-9622; Forsyth County Family YMCA, 6050 Y St., Cumming, 30040, 770-888-2788; and Robert D. Fowler Family YMCA, 5600 West Jones Bridge Rd., Norcross, 30092, 770-246-9622.

More about PD Gladiators at the Y can be found at Partners in Parkinson’s Atlanta, a full day of educational seminars and panel discussions on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Georgia International Convention Center. The event is free, and breakfast and lunch will be provided to all registered attendees. For registration and more information about this event, visit To learn more about PD Gladiators at the Y, call 404-588-9622 or go to


Parkinson’s disease exercise research

About the YMCA
The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn grow and connect. Visit or call 404-588-9622.

About PD Gladiators
PD Gladiators is a Georgia nonprofit devoted to combating Parkinson’s disease with vigorous exercise. The goal is to give PD patients hope that they can improve their outcomes by providing educational resources and low-cost community exercise programs tailored to the needs of people with PD. We are managed by an all-volunteer executive staff and are sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation, the American Parkinson’s Disease Association—Georgia Chapter, the Georgia Parkinson’s Association, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, and Ability Rehab. Call 770-450-0792 or visit

Kristen Obaranec, 404-593-7920,
Larry Kahn, 770-450-0792,


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