A 75-year-old Belgian woman, Nancy Vanderstraeten, who was named Naciye after settling in Turkey 42 years ago, has been boxing for three years to prevent the progression of her Parkinson’s disease.
COVID-19 has not stopped her from going to the gym to train, as Vanderstraeten is allowed only a few hours out due to restrictions imposed on the elderly above the age of 65. She said she stopped the progression of the disease and started to walk fast and straight thanks to boxing.
After visiting many countries in Europe, Vanderstraeten, a Belgian painter, started living in Istanbul with her husband 42 years ago. Having made a living in her youth by designing furniture, Vanderstraeten was named Naciye because of her love for Turkish people.
The woman, who lost her husband 15 years ago, settled in the Mediterranean province of Antalya at the request of her daughter, who was interested in mountaineering, but she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years ago.
Finding out that Parkinson’s patients were growing interested toward boxing in rehabilitation centers, Vanderstraeten enrolled in a gym to do boxing after the advice of her doctors.
Vanderstraeten stated that she used many medicines when she started boxing, she had difficulty walking and her daily life quality started to decrease due to tremor problems, but then she walked faster and has managed to keep her body upright within the three years.
Explaining that she spent time at home training with a sandbag and a treadmill during pandemic lockdowns, she said she spent the time given to the elderly to go to the gym.
“Before I had to use a walking stick. But now, by boxing, I fight my Parkinson’s disease every day,” she said.