When Jeff Lasley’s employer organized a team to participate in the American Lung Association’s stair climb at the US Bancorp Tower in Portland, Oregon, he wanted to participate in honor of his many loved ones who have been affected by lung disease. As a regular participant in BGF’s Powering Forward Boot Camp, Jeff was also ready for the challenge of running up 40 floors of stairs to make it to the top of the skyscraper.

“I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012. My neurologist really encouraged me to do exercise. I found out about the boot camp in a support group. The class does a great job of keeping up our energy levels and pushing us harder than we would ourselves. I’ve seen people’s flexibility and mobility improve. And if I miss a class for a couple of weeks, my symptoms feel worse.”

In addition to the boot camp, Jeff does yoga, Tai Chi, and bikes a lot. For the climb, Jeff also trained on a stair climber at the YMCA where he participates in the boot camp. The day of the climb Jeff not only made it to the top of the skyscraper – he did the climb four times for a total of 160 floors of stairs. Jeff averaged about 8.5 minutes per climb, for a total of 34 minutes. He finished seventh in his age group.

Among the many benefits of the boot camp, Jeff feels that it has taught him that he can still work out and challenge himself. In addition to what he feels are “really good workouts,” Jeff has also met a group of friends that support each other in their Parkinson’s journey.

“The boot camp really encourages people with Parkinson’s – don’t think you can’t do things. That’s what I’m really getting out of the class. It has taught me how hard I can work – and that I can still work out hard.”

Photo credit: By Michael Wiley (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons