KENMORE, N.Y. (WKBW) — “You know what their goals are? ‘I don’t want to get any worse,’ that’s totally unacceptable. That’s not our goal,” Owner of Parkinson’s Boxing Dean Eoannou said.
Eoannou coached and taught boxing at UB. He now owns Parkinson’s Boxing in Kenmore.
“This is totally dedicated, 100%, to people who need it now. It changed my whole life, it changed who I am,” Eoannou said.
The Parkinson’s Foundation says 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. Almost 10 million people live with it worldwide. Roman Figler was diagnosed in 2019.
“My first session here, I felt at home, I felt at ease. I felt clumsy, but I felt this is the right place for me to be,” Figler said.
Figler first joined the gym as a student. Now he is a trainer. A study conducted by Northwestern University found an 87% drop in self-reported falls in Parkinson’s patients who go to boxing therapy.
“The things that I’ve seen here are short of a miracle,” Figler said.
“That’s our goal, to give you your life back. And our goals are higher than our clients because we know we can do it,” Eoannou said.
But now, as the gym grows, they’ll need a bigger space and new equipment, so Figler’s son decided to make sure that could happen.”
“People always talk about find your why, and he’s kind of my why,” Figler’s son, Justin Figler said.
Justin started a GoFundMe page. He wanted to raise $5,000 dollars for the gym. In less than one day they reached $10,000; now they’re just shy of $25,000.
“In the beginning it was just overwhelming. Especially hitting 10k, so doubling the goal in just 23 hours,” Justin said.
On September 1, Justin will run four miles every four hours for 24 hours to honor his dad and help the gym.
“It’s going to benefit so many. Im so proud of him and thankful for the people who have been so generous,” Figler said.
“He hasn’t stopped calling me. Calling me every day ‘see what the GoFundMe’s at?’ Yeah, I see it,” Justin said.