A Veteran’s Story of Treating Parkinson’s Through Exercise

Andrew Kinkella, 76
U.S. Navy, 1961-1966
Sampson Family YMCA

I always loved ships and airplanes and the Navy offered the chance to work with both. Shortly after high school, I enlisted in the Navy and after bootcamp, I went to aviation electrician school. A large part of the time was spent on the carrier Oriskany and at the Alameda Naval Air Station on San Francisco Bay.

In 1963, I was selected to go to Bien Hoa in Vietnam with a detachment attack squadron VA 152. On Nov. 1, 1964, my 21st birthday, the Viet Cong attacked our base and I caught some mortar fragments. I came back to the states until my enlistment was up. There are about eight of us that still keep in touch more than 50 years later.

I belonged to the Wilmerding YMCA with my family way back in my youth and still remember the building. I had not been a part of the YMCA since, but when I found out about the exercise program to help Parkinson’s disease at the Sampson YMCA, I joined in February and began working out with Coleen Bortz and Jamie Sibek.

Joining the Y is really more like joining a family. I have enjoyed my time there, both because the exercises are really helping my Parkinson’s and because all of the staff and members make it so fun and friendly. My wife MaryAnn also keeps me company, which makes the experience even better.

Locations: Sampson Family YMCA