Donors provide new Barrington workout center for physically challenged
Barrington's nonprofit NeuroBalance Center is ready to serve more clients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and other conditions in a new building with five times more space and state-of-the-art equipment geared for people with physical challenges.
NeuroBalance hosted a grand opening ceremony Thursday for the 10,000-square-foot structure on Grove Avenue near Barrington's post office. The mortgage-free building with easy access to everything was built through contributions from donors, including NeuroBalance board member Vince Foglia's family.
Foglia, a North Barrington philanthropist and the retired founder of health care industry company Sage Products, was impressed with the facility as he checked out the exercise equipment accompanied by his wife, Pat.
"This will be a great center for people to get back their independence or at least hold off their dependence on other people for as long as they can," Foglia said. "And there is no reason to give in to any disease."
Registered nurse Joy Wagner and Dr. LeeAnn Steinfeldt, a chiropractor, opened what originally was called fitMS NeuroBalance Center in 2011. Its client base grew beyond those with MS and includes Parkinson's, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Type 1 diabetes, fibromyalgia and more.
Wagner was a pediatric nurse when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001 and saw a need to have an exercise facility specifically for those with conditions affecting their mobility, balance, strength, gait, coordination and speech. She expressed appreciation for the new building in her remarks to the grand opening crowd.
"When you look around you here, you see a community of family and friends and people I don't even know who came forward and decided to support this portion of the community that is largely ignored," she said.
NeuroBalance plans to expand its programs and projects to grow from the 750 or so clients who regularly used the former 2,000-square-foot facility in a Barrington office park. Wagner said NeuroBalance, as a nonprofit, has sliding-scale fees and draws from a roughly 30-mile radius.
Two physical therapists, two massage therapists, a chiropractor who also is a functional neurologist, group fitness instructors, physical therapist assistants, personal trainers and others are part of the operation. The modern exercise equipment includes an antigravity treadmill and Power Plate whole-body vibration machines.
Barrington resident Jeff Anderson, 60, said he's exercised "like a fiend" to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease since he was diagnosed in 2000. He said NeuroBalance offers workouts tailored to his condition, and equipment such as the Power Plate allows him to exercise in a variety of ways with reduced muscle strength.
"I like being with a community of people who are afflicted with the same thing I am," Anderson said. "It's good to share ideas and share problems. It's just a really nice environment."
Margaret Rovetuso, a physical therapist assistant who also is a yoga and Pilates instructor, teaches classes for those with MS and Parkinson's. She's also about to start a Rock Steady Boxing program for Parkinson's clients.
"One they start to exercise, they feel like they can fight it," Rovetuso said. "They can do something. They have a little bit of control over their life versus it controlling them and getting worse. And even if it does get worse, they have the support around them."