When Baltimore-area attorney Elliott Goldberg died three years ago, his wife, Harriett, thought carefully about how to honor his memory. Elliott Goldberg died of bladder cancer, but he suffered for years with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system mainly affecting the motor system, while maintaining an active lifestyle of working out and playing golf.
Harriett Goldberg organized the I. Elliott Goldberg Memorial golf tournament in the fall of 2015 and raised $11,000. She thought about donating money to cancer research but settled instead on a way to help those still suffering from Parkinson's by finding a space for them to exercise for free.
"I wanted to help people suffering from this disease while they were still alive," she said. "My husband always had a smile on his face and never complained. He was the perfect father. He played golf and went to court. Few people knew he had the disease. He would be thrilled to know that we're helping people."
The exercise classes take place in a donated space on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the FX Studios, an Under Armour Performance Center located on Pepper Road in Hunt Valley, Md.
"Harriett's a very special person," said Jared Cohen, president and CEO of the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area. "She wanted to honor her husband's memory by giving the gift of exercise. It's a tremendous benefit."
Harriett Goldberg contacted the organization, which is dedicated to improving the lives of those with Parkinson's through education, communication and exercise programs. The foundation offers 180 exercise programs at no cost across the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., corridor as well as "Walk Off Parkinson's," an annual fundraising event at Nationals Park. She learned about their community-based programs and began looking for a location.
Harriett Goldberg mentioned she was looking for a space to her friend, Jerod Felice, the managing partner of FX Studios and a physical therapist. Felice spoke to FX Studios owner Nate Costa.
"Harriett and Elliott were always looking to help people," Felice said. "Nate found a place in his heart. It was easy to say, 'Yes.'"
The first class began in May, with four people coming in, and word continues to spread through fliers and word of mouth. The numbers are growing by the week, and boxing has been a popular exercise for Parkinson's patients.
"I saw a man get up from his chair and start using the punching bag," Harriett Goldberg said. "He said, 'Thank you.'"
Felice said throwing a punch is a total body exercise, and that kind of strong, empowered movement is important for Parkinson's sufferers. Being with others is also a key factor.
"The psychological impact of exercising in a team environment is very positive," Felice said. "They come in shuffling, struggling to walk, and by the end of the session, they are moving a lot better."
Felice and trainer Lauren Catalano keep Harriett Goldberg informed.
"They'll tell me, 'You'll never believe what Lenny did today,'" Harriett Goldberg said. "Or, 'Peter did this today.' We're all friends. We want it to be like family. It's a beautiful thing to see."
The second annual I. Elliott Goldberg Memorial golf tournament will take place at Piney Branch Golf Course in Upperco, Md., Sept. 26. Proceeds will go to the Parkinson's Foundation of the National Capital Area. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue 222: June 2016
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misidentified
Jared Cohen's title. PressBox Regrets the error.