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Three individuals choose to fight Parkinson's disease by taking up boxing

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POSTED: Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 10:00am

UPDATED: Sunday, April 8, 2012 - 10:04am

Three North Texans with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease are finding a unique way to fight the illness.

The trio is adopting the attitude of serious athletes and the commitment of champions.

At a gym in Fort Worth, Texas, most fighters train to knockout who is right in front of them.

But if you walk to the back, you'll find three energetic people fighting what's inside them.

It's all a part of the strength, balance and reflex workout that helps push back the symptoms of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease.

Stacy Christopher is familiar with those symptoms.

She was diagnosed four and a half years ago.

Tina Hargrove has the same energy as Christopher and never thought she'd be working out like a boxer.

Gary Schmitz was diagnosed ten years ago.

He's paired this workout with a new diet and is seeing great results.

Keeping them all in motion is two time world champ Paulie Ayala.

"They're fighting two battles. They are learning the boxing and they are fighting the Parkinson's," said Ayala.

They can't defeat the disease, only beat it back.

"They are gaining confidence on themselves," said Ayala.

Showing us it's not about what you win, but rather what you work not to lose.

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