Many of you know the Bike Box Project origin story and have been with us from the beginning. When we say that we are supported by a community, that sentiment does not do justice to the level of support we receive. Bike Box Project exists because of this community. We have been able to grow exponentially because of support from friends and family, from granting organizations, and from business all over New Bern and eastern North Carolina. As we take giant leaps forward, we hope to emphasize that we could not have done any of this without you all.
Autumn can bring about a feeling of change for a lot of folks, and this year, that feeling is amplified for Bike Box Project. For years, S.W.E.A.T Camp has surpassed our wildest expectations by providing us with the space to begin and grow our Rock Steady Boxing program. I cannot overstate that without them, we would not have been able to create Rock Steady Boxing New Bern. In fact, Bike Box Project would probably have remained what it was in the beginning—a dedicated group of people raising money to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation and to help meet the immediate needs of local individuals. We still are that group, but S.W.E.A.T. Camp allowed us to become so much more.
Rock Steady Boxing New Bern started as a small group of people, unsure about how boxing was going to help them fight Parkinson’s disease. Because of Randi and Bryan Burke’s generosity at S.W.E.A.T. Camp, as the group grew and more and more classes were offered, everyone began to realize the power of the growing community. We were just starting to get into our routine when COVID took away our ability to meet face-to-face. We pivoted and created online content, but it was not the same as being together and supporting one another. Volunteers and boxers will never take for granted the ability to be in a space together, fighting to move forward a little bit each day. Thank you, Randi and Bryan, for giving us the opportunity to see the difference that Rock Steady Boxing can make.
As we transition into our new location, we will be forever grateful to our S.W.E.A.T. Camp family for taking us in and helping find ways to fight against this debilitating disease. As one of our boxers, Nancy, says, “Exercise is the only thing you can do to keep the symptoms of Parkinson’s away longer.” The difficulty for a lot of people, though, is getting started. Another boxer, Norman, said, “I’m not a boxer. That’s for sure” but, a little at a time, he feels like his stamina is improving. He would encourage people at any level of fitness to join Rock Steady because the camaraderie that develops keeps him coming back and makes him try harder. Nancy and Norman both describe Rock Steady as a family and support group that pushes them to continue improving each day. We want that feeling for every person who is struggling with Parkinson’s.
One of our volunteers, Jordan (who came to us through S.W.E.A.T. Camp and has been with us since the very beginning), describes the experience of working with the boxers as empowering, uplifting, and inspirational. As we continue moving forward, we hope the Bike Box Project spirit will inspire even more people to join and fight back against Parkinson’s.