Page 49 - BusinessWest February 17, 2021
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disease he serves.
“We had been growing exponentially
prior to the pandemic; we had a little over 100 members, and we’d see about 80 of those members every week,
at different sessions,” he recalled.
And when COVID-19 shut down the economy, including DopaFit’s facilities, Moir had to pivot — fast.
He quickly moved to an online model, starting with prerecorded exercise videos, daily e-mails, and phone calls. Zoom classes followed, which were more engaging and interactive than the videos, and trainers could work with members to make sure they were doing everything correctly.
“We did our best to keep our members engaged,” he added, through efforts like webinars with movement- disorder specialists to make sure members stayed current with the latest information. “Yes, we do exercise, but we also educate, and then we empower. So we had to move the education online as well. Even though we couldn’t be
in the space, we were able to support them physically and mentally.”
While the West Boylston facility remains shuttered and programs are run completely virtually, DopaFit’s Easthampton site opened about four months ago to small, scaled-down classes — two groups of no more than four people each — who work out separated by distance and dividers, and all surfaces and equipment are sanitized between each use.
“People who come say they feel 10 times safer here than they do going to the grocery store,” Moir said.
Through it all, he had his worries about surviving such a difficult time.
“The rent didn’t stop. The space was closed, but the bills were still here.
But we’re blessed with a tremendous community,” he said, noting that local groups ran fundraisers to support DopaFit, and he was able to keep
the business in operation and pay employees through the pandemic. “You truly see the impact when it’s taken away. Even people who don’t come here but know what we do wanted this service to stay available to the people in this community.”
Moving Ahead
Through it all — the expanded membership, and then the obstacles posed by COVID-19 — DopaFit’s outreach in the community has only grown, Moir said. “We’ve made some great connections with the local physical therapists and neurologists in the area, which has helped tremendously. We
are now well-known as a very viable and necessary option for someone with Parkinson’s disease.
“When it comes to being innovative and trying new things, that is something
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