My Y Story: Liz Kaas

Liz KaasAn Instructor’s Journey Through a Parkinson’s Community

“Hearing those positive stories is always rewarding to me,” Liz stated when recounting her history in assisting those with Parkinson’s disease through her work at the YMCA. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that instills a detrimental effect on the body’s nervous system, causing slow movement, tremors, and stiffness. This is an illness that varies considerably from each individual, making it difficult at times to even get a proper diagnosis. Parkinson’s is currently an incurable disease that can only be lessened through extensive training. Liz Kaas has worked over the past few years as a Director of Wellness to support those battling this brutal disease, giving them the proper environment to train, express themselves, and most importantly, feel supported.Peddle for Parkinson's Class

When speaking to Liz, she provided an extensive look into her mind and the positive outlook she has maintained when supporting those with such a treacherous illness. She owes this positive mindset to the wonderful community that has been built within her class. Her Pedaling for Parkinson’s class meets twice a week and consists of about fifteen people. Many of these community members are also present at a nearby support group that is self-led. When describing Pedal for Parkinson’s, Liz stated “I love the community they have built within their class. They have such genuine compassion and care for each other, it’s more than just an exercise class, it’s a space where vulnerability is embraced and community thrives.” It is evident the care she holds for this group, and the group reciprocates this energy.

Peddle for Parkinson's Class

The group themselves consists of a variety of backgrounds and experiences. It is hard to pin similarities amongst their stories which makes it all the more beautiful that something so grim has brought them together in such a positive environment. Overtime, participants in this program have come back to report the improvement of their symptoms. Many times, these stories will be shared amongst the group, allowing an open environment for others to explain their experiences and what has helped them. The group has regularly gone out on trips together, such as holiday get-togethers and even “visiting a lake house as a group in the summer.” Their bond is inseparable and that is key to their improvement and inevitable success. Everyone holds care for each other and this mentality has established a home where even Liz feels welcome to, despite not harboring the illness that initially brought them together.

This program has helped improve the lives of several people given how fierce Parkinson’s can be. It is a progressive disease that can only be slowed down by taking action. It is powerful to see that this group has provided a platform for others to not only physically improve, but also be given a home to be comforted by those around them. Liz is proud and endeared by the community that has been built and the palpable improvement she has witnessed. Despite the strength of Parkinson’s disease, this community has persevered whilst creating a lovable environment simultaneously. This effort is worth countless praise and we look forward to those we are able to help in the future.


If you’re passionate about making a positive impact in our community, consider supporting Pedaling for Parkinson’s and other Y wellness programs by clicking the link below to donate. Your donation enriches the lives of many individuals by expanding access to wellness initiatives and promoting health and fitness for all through programs like Pedaling for Parkinson’s and other Y Healthy Living Programs. Join us in empowering our community by making a difference today!




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