In a story on this week’s front page, we learn of an Oak Park couple striving to make life a little better for all of us. Terry Laitala is battling Parkinson’s disease and he and his wife, Madge, have every reason to focus their efforts inward. It is a constant battle to maintain his mobility, his speech and on some days a sense of normalcy.
The Laitalas have decided that they’d rather not live a life in which their needs necessarily come first. Sure, the boxing program they’re working on could pay dividends for their health, but they’re more interested in sharing that experience with the rest of us. Whether you have Parkinson’s or are looking for a vigorous workout, the Laitalas want to see you on Friday evenings at 1401 Circle.
Their enthusiasm seems to be infectious, too.
Victory Martial Arts Academy isn’t charging anyone to use its gym, and Terry and Madge have convinced Damon Hill, a former pro boxer from LaGrange, to make the trek to Forest Park once a week for very little money. Terry Laitala has impressed people with his tenacity; Madge’s heart is impossible to deny. They are the nucleus of this upstart program. The organizations and the individuals who have signed on to support them say it was a very easy decision to give what they can, and that says as much about them as it does the Laitalas.
A community is the sum of its parts, and everyone has something of value to contribute.