An advocate for Parkinson’s patients

Published 8:16 pm Monday, October 8, 2018

After her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Kendra Lapointe didn’t wait very long to start becoming an advocate within the community.

Her family watched as Parkinson took over her father’s life 10 years ago, and after doing some research, she found her calling.

Lapointe founded Forward and Up Fitness to help those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease almost three years ago.

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“When I heard how exercise helps, I jumped on it,” Lapointe said. “My Forward and Up Fitness program is geared towards a body living with Parkinson’s, and we target balance, stretching and cognitive exercises.”

Lapointe found in studies that exercise can help to slow the progression of the disease, while medications only mask the symptoms.

Her exercise classes have options for plenty of people at different stages of the disease, and she does whatever she can to help the entire community within the Hampton Roads area.

Forward and Up Fitness offers to types of classes to help different areas of mobility. Lapointe’s higher mobility class is for those that don’t need assistance to walk around, but she also offers a class for those that require any type of walking assistance.

“There are so many different ways to exercise, and you can do the same movement in different ways. It allows for a broad spectrum,” Lapointe said.

This kind of therapy has been successful for Lapointe, and she believes that this kind of exercise should be available to everyone with Parkinson’s.

Lapointe’s greatest success was her client, Mike. When he started seeing Lapointe for her fitness program he was lethargic, had severe back issues and was battling the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

“Within a year, he is driving himself to and from class,” Lapointe said. “He is playing golf, sleeping better and I have not seen any progression in tremors or stability. He’s my largest success.”

Having Forward and Up Fitness has been transformative for Lapointe, and she is happy to have the opportunity to serve as a resource to those in her community.

“I’m very humbled to be around people that are so empowered and taking control of their own lives,” Lapointe said. “I get to be around people who live for each day and people who are basically clawing at the rug trying to make sure their tomorrow is better. I have a full heart.”

Being so involved with Parkinson’s disease with her fitness program, as a board member for the Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association and leader of two support groups, has given Lapointe a new perspective on how to live her own life.

“My husband and I now know that what we do now and how we take care of ourselves is important. We can make sure that when we are seniors, we will continue to be healthy,” Lapointe said. “Hearing their experience, I can apply it to my own life. It’s like a cheat code.”

For more information or to begin attending Lapointe’s fitness classes, call 505-379-5982.