Pedaling for Parkinson's at Sarasota YMCA

Partner Spotlight


Sometimes, the right person connects to the right organization and amazing things happen. That is the story of Nola Hietbrink and the Sarasota YMCA. When her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, they immediately became supporters of any initiatives to raise awareness and support research in finding a cure. A chance viewing of the Today Show over five years ago shocked the Hietbrinks as they saw a cousin, a trained neuroscientist, on screen talking about an organization called Pedaling for Parkinson’s. Once they learned of his research of the effect of physical activity on the motor symptoms associated with the neurological disease they made it their mission to bring Pedaling for Parkinson’s to Sarasota. 

A supporter of the Sarasota YMCA for over 20 years, Nola knew that the YMCA was the perfect organization to bring the program to the community. “They’re so good at partnering with entities,” said Hietbrink. “They’re really conscious of the needs of Sarasota County. The YMCA brought the program to life because they felt it was a community need.” 

The Frank G. Berlin, Sr. and Evalyn Sadlier Jones branches of the Sarasota YMCA are two of only 18 satellite programs throughout the United States that utilize the Pedaling for Parkinson’s framework, which is growing. Designed around the “Endurance” SPINNING style, these indoor cycling classes are facilitated by a live coach to reach the recommended RPMs and heart rate to relieve symptoms. Research by Pedaling for Parkinson’s reports a reduction of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by up to 35% when following the parameters of classes like these offered by the Sarasota YMCA. 

A safe environment and a class setting led by certified instructors are a major benefit for patients seeking to reduce their symptoms, interact in a class environment and benefit from the instruction of a professional. “It has so many social benefits. Your people are there and it is a close group of friends. If you’re not in class, people worry about you,” said Hietbrink.

By providing this and similar programs for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Sarasota YMCA continues to make major contributions to the gulf coast community. 

To learn more about the Sarasota YMCA’s commitment to providing life-changing experiences and for detailed scheduling on Pedaling for Parkinson’s and other enriching programs, visit 

The Sarasota YMCA is a 2015 SRQ Story Project partner and the featured non-profit organization this December. To learn more about the mission of Sarasota YMCA and their powerful community programs, visit them online at

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