Howie’s Story

Howie Apple is an inspiration to many. As an aging athlete he wanted to stay as active as he could, then he got the news that he had Parkinson’s Disease. Over the last several years, the Crosby YMCA Wellness Center has become central to the quality of his life. Howie always enjoyed an active lifestyle. He was a tennis player and skier in Cleveland, and later took up running and bicycling in Tampa. Then, three years ago, he found himself at the Crosby YMCA Wellness Center via the Florida Hospital physical therapy program after a broken collarbone and ribs put him out of commission.  With the help of the Crosby staff, he started a weight lifting program and indoor cycling. Not too long after that, Howie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after having hand tremor symptoms. There has been a significant amount of Parkinson’s in his family including his uncle, mother, and sister which taught him first-hand how debilitating it can be. His career background is BioMedical Engineering, during which he designed products like patient monitoring instruments, an automatic noninvasive blood pressure machine like the Y uses, and laser vision correction treatments.  After his Parkinson’s diagnosis he began to research Parkinson’s Disease topics, to see what technological advances were coming.  He found research papers that showed that cycling exercise for Parkinson’s patients is often effective in reducing symptoms.  It’s not a cure but can perhaps delay progression. Now, one of Howie’s life goals is to see what Stationary Cycling can do for himself and other Parkinson’s patients.  In conjunction with the Crosby YMCA, Florida Hospital, the Winter Park Hospital Foundation, and the nonprofit Pedaling for Parkinson’s Foundation, we've developed a plan to offer a pilot 8 week Pedaling for Parkinson’s program.  Howie is leading the way by being the Cycling Instructor and he looks forward to working with other Y members to try to improve quality of life for Parkinson’s patients. For more information or to register for the Pedaling for Parkinson’s Program contact Terri Callanan at 407.644.3606 or [email protected].