Bank employees spruce up gym for Parkinson's fighters

Published: Oct. 14, 2019 at 6:30 PM EDT
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(10/14/19) - A group of bank employees traded in their computers, calculators and business attire for paint, paint brushes and company t-shirts.

It was all part of Chemical Cares Day put together by Chemical Bank. On Columbus Day the bank branches are closed so employees can serve their community.

Rock Steady Boxing Mid-Michigan is one of those who benefited this year.

"Our community has rallied around this program," said Stacey Hitsman, program director at the Midland affiliate gym.

Rock Steady Boxing Mid-Michigan aims to help people with Parkinson's disease fight back against the disease through specific exercises.

The Midland location opened in 2016, and moved into the James Savage Road location last year. "What has gone from us being a a thousand square foot, and me having about 25 fighters to over 60 fighters now, in a 4,800 square foot building," Hitsman explained about the growth and need for some extra help.

"We beat out the nation in Parkinson's cases per capita, so we beat the national average for numbers and it's not something you want to be number one in," Hitsman said.

Chemical Bank employees, including Funding Desk Analyst Joleen Sieggreen, are up for the challenge. "We're sprucing up the hallways and the bathroom that weren't already done when they first moved into the building, she also had inventory that needed to be completed," she said.

Those spreadsheets come naturally to the bank employees, but painting is a bit out of the box.

"Very different, very different. I enjoy doing it though," Sieggreen said.

Hitsman said fighters had the day off for the holiday, but will be greatly appreciated when they return to class. "The fact that they have someone from the community, and youngsters as they say, in here painting for them, it just warms their heart too because they know they're noticed, and usually that demographic is overlooked," she said.

It's work the fighters would love to help with, but Hitsman said taking a lesson from Karate Kid might be a little risky.

"Daniel Son, up and down with the paint brush would be great hand dexterity for them, but I don't want them on a ladder," Hitsman said.

Even the paint color will be a pick-me-up.

"With the orange accents, we all know how color therapy increases," Hitsman said. "Serotonin levels which helps with depression."

The painting doesn't end inside. Outside there are fresh lines in the parking lot and the start of fresh landscaping.

"It's gonna just spruce it up and make it look nice," Sieggreen said.

The sixth annual Chemical Cares Day coincided with a big anniversary for Rock Steady Boxing. Oct. 14 marked the 13th anniversary of the first class held at the original Indianapolis gym.

There are now more than 860 gyms around the world, including the site in Midland.

"There is no cure, and you can either be a victim or a survivor. And when I hear from someone that's 74-years-old, that says, 'I'm in better shape now with Parkinson's, than I was 20 years ago when I was working, right, that's what it's all about because they are moving and they are fighting back against the disease," Hitsman said.