- Parkinson’s disease
The Journey Begins
In 2007, Brian Baehr noticed some changes. He was experiencing a slight hand tremor and struggling with daily tasks that used to come with ease. This was the beginning of a year-long journey that led to a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
Brian initially struggled with processing his diagnosis, until a childhood friend changed his outlook, allowing him to focus his energy on embracing what he enjoyed: fitness.
Soon after, Brian’s oldest son Matt, a certified personal trainer who studied Kinesiology, helped create a regimen that would help minimize the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The new regimen included core strength training, yoga, and weight training. Exercise as a part of Parkinson’s treatment was not yet widely promoted, so Brian was a bit ahead of the curve in combining his love for fitness with his treatment. Matt wanted to continue to support his father and gathered a group of his friends to help host small charitable fitness classes that would benefit Parkinson’s research.
At some point, you have to choose to take control of the disease, because eventually it’ll take control of you.
– Brian Baehr
Finding a Passion for Giving Back
Today, Brian and Matt are proud to host the annual Baehr Challenge, a staggered-start obstacle course event that benefits the Parkinson’s community. The first Baehr Challenge Boot Camp was held in April 2010, generating $10,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF). Nearly 100 people joined Matt and Brian for a morning of fitness, education, and awareness.
Today, the annual Baehr Challenge continues to promote the benefit of fitness and community support in the lives of people with Parkinson’s while raising funds towards a cure. This is an exciting time for Brian and the Baehr Challenge as the organization is working to go virtual with its event and program, widening their reach and impact.
In addition to the annual event, Brian has continued to spread his love for fitness and exercise in his local community by leading hikes, boxing classes, yoga classes and jogs for people living with Parkinson’s. He finds it important to stay active and knows that while it may be hard to take that first step, once you do, you’ll begin to understand the benefits. He finds these group outings to foster connection, provide accountability and motivate progress for those who participate.
Visit the Baehr Challenge website to learn more about the program and how to get involved.