The Freudenthal Center for Parkinson’s Disease is a wellness organization in St. Joseph that offers free services to members.
Stephanie Stewart, executive director, said the center is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that raises funds through donations and fundraisers. There is no fee or charge for the services they offer.
She said it holds monthly support group meetings. In addition, the center offers exercise opportunities including fit boxing classes and cycling classes.
“We offer help to navigate the journey of Parkinson’s Disease,” Stewart said. “Many times what we find is people are diagnosed by the physician but then they don’t really have resources or assistance in order to find the help they need for them to live their best life.”
Stewart said their resources are designed to benefit those diagnosed with the disease along with their family and friends.
She said the center exists to connect members with each other and to provide an avenue for support.
“Many times we see that people will withdraw from society after the diagnosis,” Stewart said. “We want them to not withdraw and get more engaged because we all have a better quality of life when we are connected to others. We started the center with the idea that we’ll offer exercises to help people stay physically active but we realized after we started that members actually became a family. That’s the relationship they end up having with us and each other.”
The center offers recommendations to make adaptations to homes, resources for medicine and information on ways to slow disease progression.
She said the most popular exercise they offer is fit boxing classes using bags. They hold six fit boxing classes a week.
“Research shows exercise helps to increase the connections in the brain and it can help overcome some of the symptoms that they have,” Stewart said.
There were three co-founders of the center which opened in December 2018.
Stewart is a registered nurse and is an associate professor at Missouri Western State University. She started the center along with Tara Patterson who is the lead boxing trainer and Dr. Maureen Raffensperger who is the director for the physical therapy assistant program at Missouri Western.
Donations can be mailed or dropped off at the center located at the East Hills Shopping Center near Dillard’s. Donations should be mailed to the Freudenthal Center for Parkinson’s Disease at 3001 Frederick, Suite A in St. Joseph, Missouri 64506.
For more information on the center, contact Stewart by phone at 816-261-6645.