88-Year-Old Lad Is Fighting Off Parkinson's Disease By Boxing

Being a 'lad' isn't exclusively for the young. In fact, anyone can be one - including this absolute legend, 88-year-old Charlie Pearson.

Charlie has suffered from Parkinson's disease for over 20 years. As a result, he's spent the last few years in a wheelchair. However, he's not one to take it lying down.

Back in October 2015, his granddaughter (a physical therapist) asked him if he'd heard of something called Rock Steady Boxing. The program was set up to help people with Parkinson's 'fight back' by getting them to attend classes to learn boxing.

Charlie loved the idea and attended a class at Fit 4 Boxing Club in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, the next day.

Soon, he learned how to get up and out of his wheelchair. Now, not only can he walk, but he can also squat and fight on his own two feet.

He told TheLADbible: "I believe in going all out when you work out.

"You have to push yourself. And when I'm done? [Sure,] I feel tired for the moment. But I feel like I've really accomplished something. I feel like I'm really doing something to stop this God damn disease."

Brett Phillip Burkhart, a boxing instructor at the boxing club, said: "Rock Steady Boxing is an emotionally rigorous and physically intense exercise program designed for folks living with Parkinson's Disease.

"The program revolves around contact-free boxing training - training that has been proven to help improve the quality of life for those challenged by PD."

The viral video of Charlie boxing. Credit: Fit4BoxingClub

Charlie was born on December 24, 1928 in Deep River, Connecticut. He was always an exercise enthusiast and enjoyed swimming, fishing, golfing, and climbing trees. His childhood was "as free as you can be."

His dad worked a 35-mile mail route for the post office in Connecticut. His mum looked after Charlie and his two brothers until the war when she worked in a factory producing mechanical parts for gliders.

When he was 12, he started his first job on a farm where he picked peaches off of the trees in the orchard.

He soon realised that he had a knack for sales and started working for Provident Mutual, an insurance company. In 1959, he was promoted to a management sales position.

Some time later, the company moved Charlie to Pittsburgh to run a remote insurance agency located there.

In Pittsburgh, he met his future wife, Donna. They got married 52 years ago and have had two children, Craig and Daniel.

Even after his Parkinson's diagnosis, Charlie continued playing golf and staying active. Sadly, after 20 years with the disease, it began to take its toll. It was at this point that he was confined to a wheelchair.

Speaking of the boxing club, Charlie said: "I love these [Rock Steady] guys. They make you feel like a family,

"If you have PD, and you're not doing anything about it, you're a fool. It is like a war. You have to stand up and fight it. You have to send something back."

Charlie's goal is to "beat this God damn disease" and it looks like he's doing just that.

We want to showcase YOUR stories. What are you doing to benefit the community? Is your mate doing something awesome for someone else? Or just something awesome in general? We want to know about it. Email us with your story - [email protected] and you could be featured next week.

Featured Image Credit: Fit4BoxingClub

Mel Ramsay

Mel Ramsay is the Senior Journalist at PRETTY52 but has worked at LADbible Group as part of the LADbible editorial team since 2015. She started her career writing obituaries and funeral guides online. Since then, her work has been published in a wide variety of national and local news sites. She is part of the BBC's Generation project and has spoken about young people, politics and mental health on television, radio and online.

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