• May 2016

Talk About Shining Like a Star: Jeffery Holmes Is Fighting Parkinson’s for His Dad

The idea to create the Fighting Parkinson’s Foundation came to Jeffery Holmes in 2014. While attending Stevenson University, he grew tired of seeing his Dad’s health progressively deteriorate due to the affects of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Jeffery began researching how exercise could lessen the impact of PD, and found out that boxing, cycling, and yoga have been proven to lessen the effects as a single sport workout. He started putting his Dad through his paces, and today is helping to spread the word to help others fight back, too.

“I am dedicated to the field of athletic training, recognizing that successful athletes are involved in more than one type of sport workout to achieve maximum results,” Holmes explains. “While each of these exercise regimens has been shown to be effective singularly, there is no existing data that shows their combined therapeutic effect.”

As an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer, Holmes currently works with medical care providers as an advisor to develop an experimental protocol using new research. He holds an MBA Degree from Morgan State University and also manages information technology for FPF, Inc.

Scroll down for our Q&A with this amazing young man.

Be Inkandescent: Tell us about your organization. What is your mission? And what inspired you to start it?

Jeffery Holmes: Fighting Parkinson’s Foundation, Inc. (FPF INC) is a newly formed alternative exercise program for individuals suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD). The mission of FPF INC. is to mitigate symptoms of PD by providing a physical facility for a range of alternative exercising, as we focus on improving the quality of life for individuals with PD. The main goal is to improve the quality of life. If we can make someone feel good, while having this disease, then we have done the most important part of our job.

I was inspired watching a special on ESPN highlighting boxing great, Paulie Ayala. He spoke about how he has transitioned his career by helping out people with PD.

I saw that and said, “ My Dad has PD; I can do that for him! ”. We want your readers to know that our organization is founded on three pillars: family, perseverance, and fitness. Number one: It is going to take a family to get through the challenges that PD presents. Second: We are going to persevere through the tough times together. Finally: Fitness must be incorporated because medicine can only do so much, but with medicine and fitness combined, we could be on to something.

Be Inkandescent: What makes you passionate about this?

Jeffery Holmes: First and foremost, I am passionate about PD because of my Dad. Honestly, if my Dad had never been diagnosed with this disease, I probably still would not know anything about Parkinson’s other than what I had heard/read about Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox. But things change, life changes.

My Dad has this disease and it is not going anywhere, anytime soon. What I did was to begin researching the disease and becoming involved and interacting with my Dad to find out different ways that I, as a son, could help. For me, I could not just sit on the sideline and watch my Dad’s strength, as I knew it, deteriorate. I always figured there had to be something I could do. After all, he is responsible for bringing me into this world, so I owe him for all he has done for me. That is what makes me passionate.

Be Inkandescent: Tell us a little about your background, and what path led you to this moment in your life.

Jeffery Holmes: My background is weird. I never wanted to label myself but I guess I am the quote: definition of a millennial. I am a jack- of- all trades and a master of nothing and I love it. I do not want to master just one thing because then it feels like I will be a ‘one trick pony’ and that will keep me from learning other things.

For example, my whole life growing up was centered on sports. As I grew older, it trickled down to just one sport and that one sport was basketball. Basketball is a sport where you have to be committed all year around with no room for anything else. Steven Covey said you have to put in a 100 thousand hours to master your craft to be good at something. That’s what I did. Unfortunately, the dream of playing professionally didn’t work out in my favor.

As I said before, I did not know other things in the world existed because I only knew basketball. Saying all that, I felt like a kid again. I had to learn new things and I did: photography, videography, exercise fitness, public speaking (Toastmasters), and start -up business, to name a few. In basketball, I had no choice but to stay fit. Over the years, I have been through so many workouts, so what I did was to say, “hey I could do this for a living.” That is what prompted me to get my Personal Training Certification through American Council On Exercise (ACE).

My whole life, I have been a student, so that is why I am pursuing my MBA (God willing, I graduate in the Fall of 2016). As a student I love learning and that is why I do so much research on PD, just so I can be knowledgeable. I have been studying abroad, so I take countless pictures and turn them into video highlights to share my experiences. I tie them all together, so that I can use all my talents to raise awareness for PD.

Be Inkandescent: How has the organization changed over the years? And who is your target audience?

Jeffery Holmes: My organization, to me, over the past two years is still in its infancy stage, yet in retrospect it has grown from just an idea. We are now a tax exempt 501© 3 organization. We now have a location at the Baltimore Boxing Club in Fells Point. They are phenomenal there. They help with the boxing training. It is growing. It is taking some time, but it is growing.

My target audience is people with PD. From an organizational standpoint, the people I would like on my team (employees) would eventually include: therapists, nurses, personal trainers, neurologists, and care -givers. As a team, my vision is that we will all gain experience as we learn from each other to figure out a way to take this disease down. I also want to include non-medical disciplines such as: videographers, photographers, and social media experts. I want this to be on the same stage as any other disease. I want people who have PD to know they are not fighting this disease alone.

Be Inkandescent: Can you give us an example of 1-2 people you have helped?

Jeffery Holmes: The two people I have helped are my Dad and my close friend, Stefon. My dad really enjoys working out. I can see him starting to be himself again and that brings great joy to me. I see him laughing and joking around the gym and interacting with the people in the gym. It is a wonderful sight to see and it has brought my Dad and me closer.

I have always said that our mission is to enhance the quality of life for those with this disease. It can be mentality tough for those with Parkinson’s Disease. If I can bring joy for those two hours in the gym working out with my Dad and others, then I have done my part and everything else is an added bonus. My friend Stefon has also been helped because he just lost his Dad. He takes my Dad through a series of exercises and I can see they have developed a relationship. Though my Dad will never replace his Dad, I am just happy that I can share my Dad with him and they have a good time together.

Be Inkandescent: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Jeffery Holmes: I am most proud of becoming a tax exempt non profit organization. Though, I went to school for business and am going to school to get an MBA, there are no classes to teach you “how to start a business.”

I had to really research to figure out how to do it. I can remember spending 21 straight hours creating my business plan, hallucinating on the living room couch because I was sleep deprived. I went to countless conferences, networking and learning from other entrepreneurs how they got started. So, to get that that tax- exempt status, made me feel like I accomplished something- and I did because it was a goal of mine. But more has to be done.

Be Inkandescent: What are your goals for 2016 and beyond?

Jeffery Holmes: My goal for 2016 is to help one more person other than my Dad. I just want to help people. Also, I want to conduct research. My business model will not survive the way I want it to unless we conduct research saying there is X amount of benefit doing the steps of FPF INC. From there, it is back to helping people.

Be Inkandescent: What is your budget, and how do you raise funds? Is this your biggest challenge?

Jeffery Holmes: Our budget is small anywhere from $3,000- $6,000. We haven’t really started raising funds. We feel like we aren’t there just yet. We are in the building rapport stage. We say that because we haven’t displayed enough to earn the right to ask people for their money. Unless we turn into a big conglomerate overnight, funds will always be our challenge. But that isn’t our biggest challenge.

The biggest challenge is raising awareness, and developing new relationships. We feel as though we have something special brewing and we want the world to know. We really want to bring awareness to Parkinson’s disease. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, as many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), which is more than people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) combined. We really feel it’s important for people to know that. For now, our challenge is getting everyone to recognize who and what FPF INC stands for.

Be Inkandescent: If you had all the funding in the world — how much would that be? And what would you do with it?

Jeffery Holmes: (Chuckles at this question) If I had all the funding, the funding at this given moment, it would be $30 thousand. We would use it to design this app. Rapha Rx (In the Old Testament Jehovah-Rapha (The Lord that Heals) is used in Exd 15:26. Rx means prescription. Hence, our app, Rapha Rx, means Healing Prescription. I have been working with this company in Columbia, MD- MosCreative, on a couple of projects.

They designed this awesome commercial for us and we want them to design this app. We brainstormed this wonderful idea that encompasses a lot of things, that will in return be used for research. That is our big dream. On a smaller scale, enough money to make sure my dad can continue to ride two trains (Marc and VRE) just to get to workout with me. It just shows his level of commitment.

Be Inkandescent: If our readers could learn just one thing about your organization, what would you want them to know?

Everyone in the organization is not a neurologist (no one is), but what does that matter when our common goal is to help those who need help? That’s all we strive to do is help others and we will. No matter how long it takes. And we want your readers’ support; their help is needed to spread the word for us. Go to our website and follow our social media pages.

Click here to learn more: fpfinc.org.

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