A huge congratulations and shout out to our first member of the month for 2022 – Christine!
Christine joined the Bounce Back group classes in October 2020 and later started seeing me for one-to-one sessions in February 2021. It has been fantastic working with Christine and wonderful seeing her enthusiasm for exercise as she turns up to her sessions always eager to get started.
Despite the setbacks Christine has faced, she has made excellent progress with her exercise. Two of her recent exercise achievements include holding a 145 second plank and an extremely impressive 4-minute wall sit!
Christine’s positive outlook is inspiring. It is wonderful hearing about the work she has been doing for the Parkinson’s community including starting up her own Parkinson’s support group and helping organise the ‘Fighting Fit’ weekends for people with Parkinson’s.
Here is Christine’s story:
I couldn’t believe when Beth asked me to be the Member of the Month for January – it was such a lovely surprise!
I have Parkinson’s and was diagnosed in 2016 – on my birthday, not a very nice present. So I embarked on my Parkinson’s journey not really knowing what life had in store for me. I have always been an active person, playing badminton, doing Pilates, yoga and skiing so it came as a real shock when I fell down the stairs on a ski holiday and broke my right hip in 2014. Looking back, I can see this was due to me losing my balance and was definitely Parkinson’s related. After my diagnosis and a new hip, I was determined to stay as fit as possible and learnt about the importance of exercise in PD and the mantra ‘Exercise is Medicine’.
My intention was, and still is, not to let Parkinson’s control my life, rather the other way round, and for me to do as much as I can to improve my fitness and keep moving and Bounce Back has been great for spurring me on.
In 2019 I went to the European Parkinson’s Therapy Centre near Milan and spent a week doing intensive exercise and attending sessions on topics such as nutrition, psychological wellbeing and medication. I came back with an individual programme showing my improvement over the week with a determination to keep up the good work and to ‘live my best life’.
On discovering there were no local support groups in Harpenden for people living with Parkinson’s, I decided with a friend Symon, to set one up and so PD Buddies was born. It has now been going for around 18 months with about 15 members and we meet every six weeks or so with speakers or activities to interest us. I also help run an activity group called Fighting Fit which provides residential weekends for active people living with Parkinson’s. We held two successful weekends last year in Aylesbury and Leeds and are now taking bookings for our weekend in Maidenhead in April.
In my spare time, I volunteer as a Brownie Leader and am on the technical team at our church as we project and livestream our services. I also volunteer for Harpenden Trust, a local charity, helping to organise the COVID vaccination programme and am also an Area Organiser for the Christmas Appeal.
On a personal note, I have three children, all girls, 3 dogs and a cat, all of which have unexpectedly appeared on our zoom classes from time to time! I retired from the NHS in 2017 and was widowed in 2018.
Beth has been brilliant at encouraging and motivating me and I particularly enjoy our 1:1 sessions on a Tuesday. I also do a yoga class on a Wednesday and enjoy walking my dog and dancing in my kitchen (which I can thoroughly recommend)!!”