Six Wilmington, NC Coaches to Attend the Second Annual Coaches Conference in Phoenix

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Senior Helpers®, the nation’s premier provider of in-home senior care, today announced its support of six local Wilmington Rock Steady Boxing coaches to attend the organization’s national conference from September 4 – 6, 2019. Rock Steady Boxing, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, gives people with Parkinson’s Disease hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum. The second annual Rock Steady Boxing Coaches Conference gives coaches an opportunity to meet with hundreds of fellow Rock Steady Coaches from around the world to learn new teaching techniques, tips and practices.

“As a care-based company, we understand firsthand how important it is to stay current with the skills and techniques that help our clients,” said Mari Baxter, senior vice president of operations, Senior Helpers. “Rock Steady Boxing has been one of our most valued partners the past several years and the organization’s commitment to helping improve the lives of Parkinson’s patients is an exemplary example of humanitarianism. It’s our honor to help these coaches advance their skillsets and enhance their instruction.”

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, over 10 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s Disease. Medical studies have supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact Parkinson’s Disease patients range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait and activities of daily living.

In an effort to support those afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease, Senior Helpers is assisting the local Wilmington practice in their effort to raise awareness and attend the boxing event. The coaches that will be attending the Coaches Conference include:

  • Mike Wilson—Wilson founded Rock Steady Boxing of Wilmington with his daughter in 2016 after his own disabilities ended his ability to teach Jiu-Jitsu. He uses his 15 years of martial arts experience to help improve the lives of Rock Steady boxers.
  • Val Wilson—Co-founder of Rock Steady Wilmington with her father, Mike, she has been teaching at the gym since day one. Wilson possesses over nine years of training experience in Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai.
  • Christy Gillenwater—Gillenwater is the owner of Premier Fitness Studio and is a certified personal trainer and certified medical fitness specialist. After realizing her medical clients were not progressing like they should in a standard gym setting, she decided to open her own private studio, and thus Premier Fitness Studio was born.
  • Ryan Gillespie—Growing up a multi-sport athlete in soccer, wrestling and volleyball, Gillespie naturally segued into a now 20-year career in health and wellness. He was first introduced to Rock Steady Boxing back in July of 2017 and has become a mainstay at the gym.
  • Sheryl Johnson—A former Massachusetts police officer, Johnson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2013, shortly after moving to North Carolina. She has found that Rock Steady has improved all aspects of her life from balance, hand-eye coordination and memory issues. Johnson became a coach after two years of being a member.
  • Jim Cosper—A U.S. Navy veteran, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease eight years ago, and has found Rock Steady Boxing to improve the impact of the disease so much so that he became a certified coach.

“Parkinson’s Disease hits close to home for so many people, myself included,” said Baxter. “My husband Bill was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and has found Rock Steady to be an immense help in his overall wellbeing and day-to-day health. He was so resistant after his diagnosis, but now he’s their biggest convert!”

Rock Steady Boxing of Wilmington was founded in 2016 and is currently home to two locations in the city. Senior Helpers has long been a champion of Parkinson’s Disease care, providing companion, personal and housekeeping care to those who live with Parkinson’s.

For more information about Rock Steady Boxing, visit For more information on Senior Helpers, visit

About Senior Helpers®

Senior Helpers is the premier provider of care for seniors, and offers services ranging from specialized care for those with diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, to personal and companion care to help individuals looking for a little assistance with daily activities. Founded in 2001 with a vision to help seniors who wish to remain in their homes despite age-related illnesses and mobility challenges, Senior Helpers has more than 300 franchised businesses that have cared for tens of thousands of seniors.  

Senior Helpers was ranked in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 Ranking, and appointed to the Healthcare Leadership Council—an exclusive alliance of leading healthcare companies from all health sectors committed to advancing the American healthcare system. Learn more by visiting

About Rock Steady Boxing

Rock Steady Boxing is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, gives people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum.  It is the first boxing program of its kind in the country, was founded in 2006 by former Marion County (Indiana) Prosecutor, Scott C. Newman, who is living with Parkinson’s. Rock Steady Boxing has classes to meet the fitness levels at all stages of Parkinson’s – from the newly diagnosed to those who had been living with it for decades plus.