During my boxing / fitness training with the marvellous Maxine (and George the bull dog) yesterday we were reflecting on what it is to be healthy.

Boxing training has given me strength I never knew I had. Not just the visible muscles I’ve developed, but the less visible body confidence and stamina that seems to fly in the face of the Parkinson’s diagnosis I received in 2018. For the moment the weekly program of exercise is working well for me, I feel strong and in control of my health.

I’m not saying its easy, it’s a constant balance of medication, exercise and rest, and that’s just the physical side of things. Then there’s the management of mental health – finding tricks and strategies to stay positive, motivated and moving forward. Family, dogs and surrounding myself with positive friends plays a big part for me in keeping me going.

But this constant management and adjustment to stay as well as we can is what is needed throughout our lives. Whatever challenges we face, we have a choice how we deal with it. Whether to give in, or adapt and find our best way of dealing with it.

It’s now well known that exercise at a certain level can help towards slowing down the progression of the condition. In order to embrace and promote this fact, I’m taking on a 12 hour boxing challenge on July 17th 2021 called “Punching Through Parkinson’s”. It’s a challenge for those with or without PD, to raise awareness of what we can do rather than what we can’t.

Prof. Bastiaan R. Bloem, MD, PhD, FRCPE, Director, Radboudumc Center of Expertise for Parkinson & Movement Disorders gave me these wonderful words of support:

This is a brief message to express my deep sympathy and great support for the wonderful effort by Janet Barnes, who is currently training for a 12 hour boxing challenge. Boxing is a great exercise and workout for people with Parkinson’s disease, and I cannot emphasise enough how important regular exercises for everyone who lives with this disease, both as a symptomatic treatment, and perhaps even also as a way to slow down the course of Parkinson’s disease. Janet is raising awareness for the importance of exercise, is motivating other people to engage in boxing or other types of physical activity, and is also raising money for Parkinson’s UK who really are the champions of people living with Parkinson’s in the UK and beyond. I wholeheartedly support her efforts, and I encourage you to support Janet and Parkinson’s UK in the fight against Parkinson’s disease”.

I’m asking you to join the fight and get involved, making the day something to remember. Join in person on the day, join by zoom, make a donation, share the message, do anything you can to make this big.

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