SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – The Center for Movement Challenges in Sandy Springs has been a beacon of hope for Georgians with Parkinson’s.
“I soon realized that there were a lot of people journeying through something similar to what I was,” said pickleball player Kim Faison.
While there, people find friends, they find a way to take back some of their power. The work they put in at the gym is one more moment Parkinson’s doesn’t have control over.
“A lot of it has to do with the community, bringing people together, that sense of normalcy that they don’t get in their normal life, having people who can relate to what they are going through,” said Troy Lyons-Lee with the Center for Movement Challenges.
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Members of the center created a pickleball crew. The group gets together to play a game that makes them forget about their diagnosis.
“We pictured ourselves going out there and falling all over the court but it has been great. It has been a good confidence builder for me and I think for all of us.”
The group applied for a grant through the ALTA Foundation, the charitable arm of ALTA, the largest volunteer tennis organization in the United States. The foundation works to support underserved communities.
“It is just amazing. These are amazing people and amazing athletes and to be able to help them get out of their houses and participate in healthy activities, just warms our heart,” said Rita Maloof with the ALTA Foundation.
The money allowed them to organize two clinics, reaching Georgians willing to get involved with the center and pickleball team for the first time.
“You are so focused on what you are doing, it is hard to focus on anything around you. You feel, mainly joy. It is just fun,” said Kim.
It is more than a game for the group. It is sweat that allows them to hold onto their independence.
“Ultimately, what we are trying to do is slow the progression of the disease. Science shows that physical activity, specifically vigorous activity, slows the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” said Troy. “Things like boxing and pickleball, they help so much with focus, hand-eye coordination, balance.”
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