‘Marty fights back’: 72-year-old punches his way through Parkinson’s

KSN Digital Extra

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – A Derby man diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is fighting to keep his mobility daily — through boxing.

Six years ago, Marten “Marty” Leimer’s doctor told him he had the progressive disorder, which affects movement. He was 66 years old at the time.

Now 72, Leimer said his daughter became concerned about his health when he started having trouble walking. That was the start of his fight against the disease.

“My younger daughter did some research and discovered that boxing is supposed to help Parkinson’s, so she called and got me an appointment,” Leimer said.

Leimer said the sport has helped him improve movement in his hands, feet, and shoulders. His physical coordination has also improved, allowing him to move his hands and feet at the same time once again.

Leimer has been boxing for two years and his trainer said he has accomplished much more than he realizes.

“He’s always inspired me since I started working with him,” said Christina Alvarado, Red Cape Martial Arts trainer. “He’s always been consistent. He shows up three to four times a week, he does the work and he sees the results from it. He has every reason to just give up and he doesn’t, where other people would just let the disease take over them.”

Alvarado said Leimer is an inspiration to many, but most importantly, “Marty’s a fighter.”

Leimer said he doesn’t have any plans to quit and encourages others to follow his lead.

“I just keep coming and I think it has helped,” said Leimer. “Stay active. I have a tendency if I’m home in my chair, it’s hard to get up and go do something — so I come to class and it motivates me to keep going.”

He does just that, one workout and one set at a time.

“He never complains,” said Alvarado. “If we need to make a modification to make it safer for him we do that, but he’s still right there moving along with everybody. He does the sprawls, he does the speed drills, he does the power, the push-ups, he does it all.”

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