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After a life-changing diagnosis, one senior isn't letting Parkinson's bring her down

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Posted at 7:43 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 11:09:50-04

IDAHO  — April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. More than 60,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with the disorder that affects the central nervous system.

Just over a year ago, Touchmark resident Leila Inlow got the diagnosis that would change her life forever.

"I had to cut out a lot of activities," Inlow said. "I quit playing golf, I would play four or five times a week, and I had to quit working out at the YMCA with my husband."

"We experienced the fact that she was going downhill," Jim Inlow, Leila's husband said.

Leila saw a neurologist who confirmed she had Parkinson's.

"I had been fatigued, I walked with a shuffle, I couldn't pick my feet up, and I had slight tremors," Leila said.

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After getting on the right medication, Leila's diagnosis has given her a new direction in life.

That includes attending regular exercise classes and even boxing for the first time at the age of 87 to make sure she stays strong.

"It's strenuous, " she said. "We spar for 25-30 minutes."

After seeing her uppercut and jab, her husband stays far away from the ring but is always right next to Leila, cheering her on.

“I’m an old football coach, so I'm used to physical contact, but I’m not getting in the boxing ring with her,” Jim said. "To see her come back and do all the physical activity now that she can has been remarkable."

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Now she is showing others diagnosed with the disease that you can still do all the things you love.

"We are trying to show that there aren't limitations," Kari DePaolo, Touchmark's Health and Fitness Club Manager said. "We have all these opportunities that they can have fun with it. It is not this debilitating limitation that they aren’t able to do anything and just sit at home and wither away."

"Certainly make sure you get on the right medication, and exercise and nutrition is important as well," Leila said.

She's also joined a Parkinson's support group, something she encourages others living with the disease to do.

"You learn a lot," she said. "You are able to see other people who are in the same predicament that you are and it's comforting."

"Class gives people with the same disease an opportunity to be around and share with others and feel camaraderie that I am not alone. You know there are others out there," DePaolo said.

Leila is not letting anything stop her. She's even planning on heading back to the golf course on Wednesday for the first time in two years.