Brad Stockwell isn't training anyone for an upcoming fight, but he is fine-tuning their boxing skills to live a better life.

"We call them fighters," said Stockwell, who owns the Rock Steady Gym in Peoria. "We don't call them patients here. I tell them when they walk through the door they are a fighter, not a patient."

A couple years ago, Stockwell quit his job as a medical helicopter pilot and opened the Rock Steady Gym in Peoria, a workout facility devoted to patients with Parkinson's disease.

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The gym was initially created as a way to help Stockwell's wife Georgia, who suffers from Parkinson's, but it wasn't long before dozens of other patients were benefiting from the unique exercise program that improves their strength, balance and memory.


"I used to have my head down and shuffle, and my arm was next to my ribs," said Alan Nilson. "I don't do that anymore."

"A lot of it is muscle memory," said Stockwell. "When they start doing exercises, they know they have to do this and that. A lot of them forget that kind of stuff. It helps jog their memory."

Scott Stevenson is convinced Rock Steady saved his life, so he reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to Stockwell and thank him for all he's done.

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"That's why I reached out, as a way of me thanking him and paying it back to him," said Stevenson. "He's Paying It Forward. I paid it back."

Stevenson and some other Rock Steady boxers gathered together last month to surprise their instructor and give him $500.

"Since you've been so good to everybody, I reached out to Channel 5 and they're Paying It Forward to you for all the good stuff you've done," said Stevenson. "We'd like to thank you."

"A lot of these people come up to me every day and want to give me a hug, tell me thanks for what we're doing for them," said Stockwell.

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