When someone has a debilitating or life-threatening disease they are often described as ‘fighting’ the disease.

A new program in Windsor-Essex has taken that expression to a new level.

Rock Steady Boxing launched the program last fall with only one member.

It emphasizes hand-eye coordination, footwork and balance. It also works on agility, speed, and muscle development.

With the program, 73 year-old Dan Marion improves his conditioning as he fights the biggest battle of his life; Parkinson's disease.

"We don't take it easy on him," says trainer Andre Gorges. "We try to give that tough love, hard work."

One in 500 people in Canada live with Parkinson’s; coping with tremors, impaired posture and changes in their speech.

"These guys are training for their lives here,” Gorges says. "They fight so hard to try and beat this diseased and you see improvements."

Marion joined Rock Steady boxing in January, a non-contact boxing program that pairs traditional boxing with rigorous exercise specifically designed to reduce and delay Parkinson's symptoms.

There are now 20 people taking part in 5 sessions per week.

"The exercise that boxing gives is so special."

"They all have Parkinson’s but they are all different. Some might shake, some don't shake.”

"People change in two months, they are letting go of their walkers, they are coming here and having fun."

Marion attends three sessions per week. His wife, Mary, says his mobility, speech and sensory functions have drastically improved, “His mood has changed, his balance is better."

Bob Dargon, 59, was diagnosed with Parkinson's four year ago he looks at Marion as a role model, "He's just an inspiration. That's the word to use.”

Gorges hopes the support system will improve each members quality of life.