When Speedy PD — a Parkinson’s fundraiser that takes place yearly in Manhattan — was turned into a virtual race due to COVID-19, regular attendee Dennis Rider of Abilene was disappointed, according to his friends.
A Parkinson’s sufferer himself, he attended the event every year with a large group of friends. His group always won the prize for being the biggest team there, according to Coyote Crazy team members Ranae Veal and Julie Bartley.
Bartley and Veal said she and other team members had attended Speedy PD in Manhattan for about the past five years and wanted to cheer him up when the event was altered for COVID.
“It really is so important to him,” Veal said.
“(Rider) is a really great guy who would do anything for anyone — as well as his wife Mary,” Bartley said. “He just deserves the happiness that I think the event brings to him.”
They decided to form Coyote Crazy and hold a fundraising event of their own.
Last year, the group successfully raised a significant amount of funds for Parkinson’s. They donated for Meadowlark Boxing in Manhattan — a program Rider himself has used as therapy for his Parkinson’s.
This year, the group raised roughly $20,000 with a poker walk 5K. There were 220 participants in the event this year.
Team members wanted to keep the funds local according to Bartley.
So they donated the funds to Impact Sports and Fitness.
According to Veal and Bartley, the gym can use the funds to purchase new, Parkinson’s friendly equipment and people with Parkinson’s can go to the gym free of charge where they can take classes and take part in activities that might help their disease process.
They said the gym staff had already begun working to put the program together.
Director of Impact Raelyn Racy said she hopes to use the funds to allow people in need with Parkinson’s to use the gym free of charge and a purchase a piece of equipment called a medBike that is said to help with Parkinson’s. The gym also offers a boxing program that focuses on Parkinson’s disease. It helps with balance and hand-eye coordination.
Racy said she and her staff planned to reach out to individuals who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and tell them about the new program.
“They’ll be able to come to Impact, utilize any of our services free-of-charge,” Racy said. “That could be membership to the facility, personal training, we have massage therapy, we’re doing some classes specifically for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Currently we have two boxing classes.”
The gym has something called a BoxMaster which can help people cope with Parkinson’s.
This December, Racy said the gym plans to add even more Parkinson’s-specific boxing classes.
“As people come in, we’re hoping to build more classes and make more services available depending on the need,” she said.
The gym began to offer Parkinson’s-friendly programs and equipment after a community member who has the disease approached Racy and her staff with questions what the gym offered.
Racy said she and her staff were thrilled to receive the donation.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I mean, I guess I just had no clue how much money had been raised … When they showed up here Monday night to present us the check, I about fell over I was so shocked. That was a great event and I’m hoping to do good things in the community with that money.”
Racy participated in the walk herself and said she appreciated the support.
“We appreciate that committee selecting us for the funds to be used down here,” Racy said.