MANATEE COUNTY, Fla — At TITLE Boxing Club in Manatee County, the members and trainers have become family for local veterans John Kelly and Tom O’Donnell.

What You Need To Know

  • Veterans John Kelly and Tom O'Donnell spent a combined 30 years in service

  • They are living with Parkinson's Disease

  • Boxing club's classes are designed to help them

  • More Manatee County headlines

Kelly served in the U.S. Army while O’Donnell is a Marine. They spent a combined 30 years serving and are now fighting a much different battle - they are both living with Parkinson’s Disease.

Both men take part in the boxing club’s classes designed specifically for Parkinson’s patients. The classes, held multiple times per week, are a spin on the typical boxing classes but pack the same punch.

“It makes me feel like I have a chance to step forward each time,” Kelly said. “Everyone here is struggling to get better, just a few steps better.”

The classes incorporate the plyometric movements and boxing sets you would see in a traditional class but also add drills that work on balance, agility, and coordination. The members are often asked to recite songs or trivia questions while performing the drills in order to work on their mind-body connection.

“I was very fortunate in the Marine Corp to work with great men and women, and the people who are victims here are great men and women, so it’s the same kind of effect,” O’Donnell said.

TITLE Boxing Club’s Manatee County location is offering a pay-what-you-can deal for veterans through the end of the year.

For information on their veteran specials, or Parkinson’s classes, contact them at (941) 358-8252.