19 participants attended the Fighting Fit pilot programme from 9thto 11thNovember at the Holiday Inn near Aylesbury. Most people said that they had an action packed, fun-filled and truly memorable time – one even said that the experience was “life-changing”.
The delegates were all of working-age and they travelled from all over the country to participate; two even flew in from Dublin. Five people attended with their partners/friends.
Everyone really valued the opportunity to meet and build friendships – some said that it was the first time they had ever been able to talk openly to others who share their experiences.
The agenda was packed with exercise sessions and social activities as well as being grounded in presentations and workshops.
According to the delegates the highlights were the Tai Chi, PD Power and Boxing sessions in the gym but people were surprised how much they enjoyed the singing and dancing programmes too.
The talks on exercise and neuroplasticity, the workshop on psychological wellbeing and the session on medication were particularly highly valued.
One participant said “I think the weekend was great and will impact my life”. Another said “I definitely feel much more educated, informed and positive about the future”.
At the end of the programme people were encouraged to make written promises to themselves in a workbook detailing the things they plan to do differently in the future. In their feedback, one person said, “I will commit to do more exercise – I promise!”.
Everyone loved being in a residential, wellness setting for two days with such good facilities that included a gym and swimming pool.
One participant captured her thoughts wonderfully in the livingwithPD blog including the statement “Thank you to everyone who took part. I learned so much from all of you and it was a privilege to share the weekend with such inspirational and caring and supportive people”.
Fighting Fit is an innovative residential weekend programme for younger and working-age people with Parkinson’s that encourages self-management. The aim is to provide information and sign-posting, to share experiences and discuss the practical and emotional impact of living and working with Parkinson’s.