Voices of Diversity: Group fights Parkinson's Disease through boxing

John Krumbholz jabs a punching bag at Title Boxing Club in Cedar Rapids. (Steffi Lee, CBS2/FOX28)

When John Krumbholz jabs a punching bag at Title Boxing Club, you wouldn't know what he's dealt with for the past decade.

"It causes you to forever adjust and adapt to your life," Krumbholz says.

He has Parkinson's Disease. It's a degenerative disease affecting more than one million Americans. It eats away at nerve cells and Parkinson's patients lose dopamine, a chemical that's supposed to help with smooth muscle movement.

"It's gone forever," he said. "That will never come back. A lot of people don't understand. The pills that a lot of us take and the treatments that we take don't do for that 80 percent (that's gone) because there's no cure for the disease."

But exercise helps retain and build on the energy they have left after battling the disease.

Krumbholz and a group of other Parkinson's patients try to go to Title Boxing Club once a week. Each exercise targets a symptom they deal with.

"Anytime you're crossing the mid-line like you do in boxing, plus the footwork, you have some very positive ramifications," Krumbholz said.

Some usually tremor constantly.

"You try not to think about it because if you think of it, you go crazy," Mike Vanhorn, who was diagnosed three years ago, said.

But they can still throw a mean punch.

"When you're working out, you're not affected," Vanhorn said. "It makes you feel like you don't have it anymore."

Every exercise gets exhausting, but the group says it's worth it.

"It's always a challenge, it's always relearning," Krumbholz said.

The trainers don't back down either, but they know each person goes at their own pace. Exercise specialists say they see progress.

"Their balance is better," Kris Cameron, a Parkinson's wellness coach, said. "Their function is good. They're going at their own pace. They may not be able to do everything, but they're doing the best that they can."

"It's really building up my stamina," Tom Brown, who was also diagnosed three years ago, said. "I can walk further and talk better."

It's not a permanent cure, but it's enough to feel stronger than the disease.

"I can't fool myself and the other Parkie's around can't fool themselves into thinking what they're doing is going to stop the disease," Krumbholz said. "But if you to maintain the quality of life as long as you can, you absolutely have to exercise."

There are many other classes across Cedar Rapids for Parkinson's patients to exercise.

Mondays/Fridays 10:30am-11:30am

Stonebridge Church

1829 Stoney Point Rd SW Cedar Rapids

Tuesdays/Thursdays 10:30am-11:30am

Northland Church

5200 Northland Ave Cedar Rapids

Wednesdays 9:00am-10:00am

Highland Ridge

100 Village View Circle Williamsburg

Wednesdays/Sundays 12:45pm-1:45pm

The Center

28 S Linn St Iowa City

Contact Kris Cameron 319-361-7673 or

PARKINSINGERS - Vocal Exercise/Movement for PD

Wednesdays 1:00pm-1:45pm

8 Week Classes West Music-Marion

Contact Kyle Wilhelm at West Music Marion 319-389-4074 or


Wednesdays 10:30-11:30am

Cannon Studios 260 33rd Ave-Cedar Rapids

Contact Tallis Strub at Cannon Studios 319-329-5151 or


Contact John Krumbholz for more information 319-350-7482 or


Thursdays 1:00-1:45pm

Nolte Dance Academy 1619 2nd St-Coralville

Contact Leslie Nolte at Nolte Dance Academy 319-688-9289 or

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