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Beachwood nonprofit helps Parkinson's patients keep symptoms in check while offering hope in the process

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Posted at 8:13 AM, Apr 28, 2023

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Parkinson's Disease is now the fastest-growing neurological disease in the country with the number of cases outpacing Alzheimer's Disease.

Living with Parkinson's can present some challenges, but News 5 Anchor Mike Brookbank found a non-profit in Northeast Ohio that’s helping patients face those problems head-on while giving them much-needed hope in the process.

In October 2017, Art McDaniel got a diagnosis he immediately thought was a death sentence.

"It came quite as a shock and a surprise to find out that I had Parkinson's," said McDaniel.

After doing a little research on the disease, the 71-year-old discovered hope.

"We all have a different story to tell, and each person tells their story and it makes you look at Parkinson's from a different perspective," said McDaniel.

Some of those stories have been shared at InMotion.

"The social aspect of being here is tremendous," said McDaniel.

The Beachwood non-profit helps people like Art take control of their Parkinson's symptoms.

“InMotion is really unique, there's nothing like us in the whole country," said Cathe Schwartz, InMotion CEO.

InMotion offers evidence-based exercise, arts, and education programs all under one roof.

"We have people calling us literally hours after they've gotten this diagnosis," said Schwartz.

Since opening in 2015, Schwartz said 120,000 people in Northeast Ohio have turned to InMotion and its free services for support in their journey.

"We offer Thai chi, we offer boxing, music, singing, dance, art, you name it we have it if it's an evidence-based class for Parkinson's," said Schwartz.

Among them, is yoga, which McDaniel makes time for each week.

Mike joined him on the mat for the class that focuses on big movements and balance, something McDaniel has struggled with in the past.

While participants had the option to use a chair for additional support, on this day, McDaniel didn’t need assistance.

“Balance is one of my problems so it's good I didn't have to," said McDaniel.

With dozens of visits now under his belt, McDaniel said having this opportunity has had a positive impact on both his mental and physical health.

"I actually found myself becoming stronger than I was through my adult years," said McDaniel.

Baseline data gathered from Parkinson's patients when they first arrive at InMotion points to that being the case for many people.

"So, what we found is that people who come and exercise regularly and participate in our programs really can slow down the progression of their disease," said Schwartz.

McDaniel said he was reluctant to come to InMotion at first, but as he works to keep his disease in check, this proud grandfather, who wants to be around for a long time, is grateful he worked through his fear and walked through the doors of the nonprofit.

"It's really had a major impact in every day being a good day and Parkinson's is not a negative part of my life. Better every day," said McDaniel.