After Stacey Macaluso (right) and her team participated in the Michael J Fox fundraiser for Parkinson’s Disease in December, they will be partaking in a national Parkinson’s Revolution fundraiser on Feb. 25 at the True Fitness in Cherry (Special to The Sun)Mount Laurel resident Stacey Macaluso took her passion for helping those with Parkinson’s Disease to the next level last July by creating the Parkinson’s Wellness Center of New Jersey, also known as Mission PD.
At the time, the center operated as a for-profit organization offering a range of resources and fitness classes for those with Parkinson’s. It became one of the top five fundraising teams for the annual Michael J. Fox fundraiser in New York City, raising more than $8,000.
Today, Mission PD is a pending nonprofit with a location in Maple Shade, a fitness center geared toward people – like former actor Fox – with Parkinson’s. That’s in addition to Macaluso’s virtual platform, which offers virtual fitness classes, education and a forum for those with the disease to connect with one another.
“Our goal is to work alongside other Parkinson’s organizations and systems that will bring new treatments, therapies and a cure to the table,” she explained. “ … We will donate the majority of our profits back to organizations that help the Parkinson’s community and work on research and finding a cure.
“We want to be on the cutting edge of new treatments and therapies and bring that to our members.”
Though Macaluso’s virtual platform is a little less than a year old, she has already seen its impact as Parkinson’s patients from Washington, Texas and Mexico, who live far from in-person services have sought its help.
“For them to have access to it right in their homes and give them the information, the resources, the fitness modalities that other people have access to, is only fair to create health equity within our country,” Macaluso noted.
The virtual site also hosts educational presentations to share updated information and resources on Parkinson’s and support groups. At its Maple Shade location, Macaluso’s in-person Mission PD offers fitness programs and services such as rock steady boxing, cardio and strength training, flexibility, coordination and cognitive work.
With momentum from last year’s fundraiser, Mission PD is teaming up with True Fitness in Cherry Hill on Feb. 25 to raise funds for the Parkinson’s Foundation through the latter’s annual Parkinson’s Revolution fundraiser, where participants can register to bike from 10 to 10:45 a.m. in person or remotely.
Macaluso emphasized the importance of such fitness in helping people with Parkinson’s.
“All of these exercises and this fitness work helps to reduce the symptoms temporarily and slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” she pointed out. “Exercise is the only known thing to reduce the progression of the disease and settle the symptoms temporarily.
“ … We can’t change the fact that Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative, progressive disease, but we can try and fight back against those progressions and against those symptoms and look to help fund treatments and cures that will make our future better.”
To join Mission PD in its fundraiser at True Fitness on Feb. 25, register at https://bit.ly/3kKUt3v.
Learn more about Mission PD at https://mission-pd.org/#.